With more than 55,000 members in 55 countries, the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) is one of the largest fitness associations in the world. Founded by John Spencer Ellis in 1992, NESTA not only certifies personal trainers and fitness instructors, it is now branching out with a new Sport Yoga certification for fitness center based yoga teachers. Recognizing the rise in popularity and interest for yoga in health and fitness centers, Ellis saw a need to add yoga to NESTA’s menu of fitness certification programs.
The Sport Yoga certification program costs $297 and is done exclusively online. Training materials include online videos, a digital manual and several audio lessons. The final exam consists of a combination of 100 multiple choice, matching and short answer questions. The entire program takes between 30 and 40 hours to complete. Prior fitness knowledge is not a requirement to enroll in the course. Basic understanding of the English language, moderate flexibility and a relative level of fitness are the only prerequisites.
The online instruction includes proper alignment and breakdown of the yoga poses, breathing exercises, safety guidelines and meditation and relaxation techniques. They also highlight specific tips and strategies for building a successful business through marketing and client retention as well as how to incorporate yoga into sport training programs. In addition to the principles of sport yoga, the course also covers several Pilates mat exercises and martial arts influenced warm up techniques that teachers can use to add variety in their classes or personal training sessions.
Those who receive the Sport Yoga certification will be able to teach yoga at health centers, incorporate yoga warm ups and cool downs in their fitness classes or personal training sessions, and integrate yoga poses in sport-specific conditioning regimens.
By taking this course, fitness professionals will receive continuing education credits that help them stay current with NESTA or other health and fitness industry standards although, it falls short of meeting the criteria as a nationally recognized yoga certification program through Yoga Alliance (YA), the governing body of yoga teacher training schools. In order to satisfy the high standards of YA, the program must be a minimum 200 hours and involve at least 30 hours of yoga philosophy and ethics with a comprehensive overview of the yogic lifestyle.