Updated (Jan 2018): How to prepare for yoga certification (theory) exam?

Prepare for level 2 Yoga Certification Theory Exam:

[This post is follow up post to what you need to know about voluntary yoga certification exam]

The first question after registering yourself for voluntary yoga certification examination is how to prepare for it?

As a Yoga professional, you know theory as well as practical aspects but the doubt is: is it sufficient to clear the certification process?

For this let’s first understand the context of this exam:

What is tested in certification exam (theory)?

Though you can check the detailed syllabus from the link provided, let me tell you in short about what is tested in the theory exam.

From last quarter of 2017, the theory exam of yoga certification is objective type only. Also in coming days, you will be required to clear these levels in sequence, which means clearing level 1 and then level 2.

Though currently, you can appear for Level 2 exam (Yoga Teacher) directly if you are, either qualified for that or have experience and knowledge to clear the exam.

So coming back to the syllabus, you are tested on below-mentioned topics:

  • Familiarity with classical yoga texts: Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Hath Yoga Pradipika, Ghrihanda Samhita
  • Knowledge of Shad Darshan with special emphasis on Sankhya darshan
  • Knowledge and familiarity with human anatomy & physiology.
  • Complete knowledge and familiarity of Shat Kriya, Asana, Pranayama and teaching skills. You should know benefits, counter indications and counterposes of asanas listed in the syllabus.
  • Knowledge about Eight steps of yoga (Ashtanga).

Though for Level 1, familiarity with above-mentioned concepts is sufficient, for Level 2, in-depth understanding is required.

You can access The Yoga Talk forum to discuss and clear your doubts with regards to any of the topic listed above.

I did a certain course (RYT 200) for yoga teacher, is it sufficient for this exam?

The answer is: If you did your teacher’s (or instructor’s training) from a proper school and you have read the recommended texts, then yes, it is sufficient.

The question is how much of these texts which you studied in your course, do you remember now?

That is the real issue that yoga professionals are facing while appearing for Yoga Certification exam.

You see, the knowledge being delivered for any teacher’s training course requires having basic understanding of classical texts of Yoga.

But, once the course is complete, you get more questions and real-life situations of students interested in practice only.

So, unless you are a regular reader yourself, you tend to have only the understanding level touch with the concepts.

So how to approach this exam?

The syllabus of Level 1 ( instructor) can be downloaded from here.

And Level 2 ( teacher) can be downloaded from here.

As you can see from the syllabus, as yoga instructor/teacher you are supposed to know the definition and concepts as explained in classical texts.

The simple reason being: All the current understanding is derived from an explanation of these texts only.

For example, Any yoga professional, even at the level of yoga instructor should know about yoga’s concept of health, shat karma, asanas ( & their benefits) etc.

As mentioned earlier, if you have completed any teacher’s training course or received training under a senior teacher, then you have been exposed to these concepts. One way or other.

Most of the formal courses in yoga consist of introductory and in some cases detailed explanation of yogic concepts.

You just need to revisit them for this exam. Have a quick look through the training manual you received while pursuing your course.

If you have lost touch with your basic texts or reading the classical texts seems daunting to you, then QCI has launched an official handbook for yoga professionals.


This book is based on standards of knowledge set by technical committee on yoga regarding minimum acceptable standards of knowledge for Yoga Professionals.

Though this book is specific from QCI certification exam syllabus, it is a good read as the single point, concise collection of important concepts.

A word of advice: This book has very concise and to the point material. It should not be read as a reference text to deepen your understanding of yoga, yogic concepts etc.

You can take it as a good introduction to yoga as professional or as a concise guidebook to brush up your knowledge before the certification exam.

The forum:

We have recently started a forum for yoga professionals who either want to know more about certification scheme or have appeared & wants to clear doubts from fellow yoga professionals. Please visit it at https://theyogatalk.com

What to focus on?

When you are reading for the exam, you can skip reading about asana part. As a practising yoga professional (teacher or instructor) you already know about this part and thus read about them in the end.

For now, you should focus on yoga texts, philosophy and different school of thoughts.

Also, focus on human anatomy and its relation to different practices of asana and pranayama.

With around 2 hours of study a day, give yourself at least 3 weeks before appearing for the exam. And you should succeed easily 🙂

Recommended readings:

It is always a good idea to read books authored by teachers, practitioners from different schools.

This was, you are exposed to the alternate understanding of the same concept. A very important step to be holistic about knowledge part.

Plus, it also keeps you humble!

Here is the list of books which are highly recommended, even for a layman.

This list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to add your recommendation in the comment section and I will add them to the list.

  1. Light on Yoga by B K S Iyengar

This book serves as an introduction for beginners who are looking to learn the unique practice of Yoga. It has been authored by the famous B.K.S. Iyengar, who is known for his mastery over the topic of Yoga.

2. Asana, Pranayama, Mudra and Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

This book combines a comprehensive overview of asana; while at the same time giving clear explanations of the deeper aspects of yoga, including breathing (pranayama), body attitudes (mudra), energy locks (bandha), energy centres (chakras), and yogic cleansing (hatha yoga) — Amazon

3. Hath Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita and Viveka Chudamani

Original texts are in Sanskrit language, so what you will see in search results is commentaries or explanations by learned gurus or long-term practitioners. I will suggest that you read at least two different versions of each for better perspective and understanding.

2018-01-16T06:34:58+00:00 Certification|0 Comments

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