Legalities of Working as a Yoga Teacher

This Content Was Last Updated on March 10, 2024 by Jessica Garbett


Our experience is that Yoga Teachers can often be worried about the legalities they have to meet.

Here is our understanding of the main legal obligations around working as a yoga teacher:

Work Permit and NI Number – if you are not a UK national check your right to work in the UK.  Before working in the UK you will probably need a NI number, see HMRCs guidance on this. An employer, studio or gym may require sight if your work permit and/or passport.

HMRC registration – you must register as Self Employed by 5 October after the end of your first tax year, but it’s generally best to do this as soon as possible.  See Our Guide to Registering with HMRC.  If you are working for a gym or studio, they may require sight of your Tax Reference – also known as a UTR – before paying you.   There is no legal requirement for this, it’s merely the engaging organisations internal rules.

Some gyms/studios will treat you as an employee, thats to say “on the payroll”.  In this instance Self Employment registration with HMRC is not necessary.

Professional Memberships – there is no requirement to be a member of a professional organisation, e.g. Yoga Alliance US, Yoga Alliance Professionals (formerly Yoga Alliance UK), REPs, Cimpspa or British Wheel of Yoga, but some gyms or studios may require it, or other accreditations like REPs or CIMSPA, as part of their internal rules.

Insurance – there is no legal requirement to hold insurance, but again some gyms or studios may insist on it.

If you are working for a gym or studio, then check whether you are covered by their insurance and if not whether they insist you have your own teachers liability insurance – even if they don’t it’s probably sensible to have cover.

If you run your own classes then a teachers liability insurance policy, although not mandatory, is sensible – it would be unwise not to have it.  Also check that venues you use have public liability cover to take care of risks to people using the premises.

Finally, if you own a studio or gym, then employers liability is mandatory if you have others working for you, and public liability, buildings and contents insurance is also likely to be sensible – these risks will normally be covered by an all risks business policy, but you may need teachers liability insurance separately.

See our separate Guide to General Insurance.

Music Licensing – Performing Rights and PPL – If you play music in class, then you need to research these

Health and Safety – you will need to risk assess your class venues – see our Guide to Health and Safety

First Aid – its sensible to have a First Aid certificate and to know where First Aid points are for the venues you work in.

Data Protection – most Yoga Teachers will need to register with the Information Commissioners Office   See our guide to GDPR and Data Protection.

And a couple of things you don’t need to do:

Register with Companies House unless you decide to trade as a limited company – see our Guide to Working through a Limited Company

Register your business name anywhere other than for buying a domain – there is no Business Name Registration process in the UK any more, but there are a lot of scams purporting to be official registers.

In summary, for the most part only permission to work in the UK and HMRC registration are the only mandatory requirements, but gyms and studios may have further internal requirements, and you would be advised to have insurances and first aid.