Posted by: Trudy Prevost | October 22, 2009

Finding a Yoga Teacher

Many of my students are only here for a short time – visiting the island as: tourists; students; volunteers or fullfilling short term employment contracts.

I am often asked how to find a yoga teacher when they leave island.

Finding a qualified yoga teacher has become a very confusing venture in the past 10 or 15 years.  

Many new yoga “styles” exist and with the huge surge in interest in yoga; the number of yoga teacher training programmes available has increased tremendously and the length of time in training decreased dramatically.  

Practicing yoga with a qualified and or experienced teacher can greatly enhance the experience.

How to find a qualified teacher?

Check out more than one class to find the one that suits you. Be open to different styles and different teachers as they all have value and slightly different ways of looking at things. You may wish to consider the following points in your quest. 🙂

1. Yoga Teacher Training

A thorough yoga teacher training programme would cover anatomy, deep breathing techniques, breath movement practice, contraindications and various different adaptations for pregnancy, the elderly or physical challenges of participant; as well as stress managment techniques such as meditation, autogenic relaxation; systematic muscle relaxation supine and the other paths of the yoga lifestyle programme including healthy lifestyle. 

2. Length of Yoga Teacher Training Program.

The length and depth of yoga teacher training programmes vary greatly.

It is possible to have the equivelent of a Master’s Degree through Yoga Schools/Universities which usually involves 4 years of training and then an apprentiship.

There are also 1 and 2 years training programmes providing certification. Often 1 or 2 years of personal practice experience are required as a prerequisite to training.

Recently – reflecting the popularity and demand and the vast amounts of money  involved (Yoga Teacher Trainings of this type are very lucrative)there are Yoga Teacher Training Programmes that are only 1 or 2 weeks long or in a few cases 1 or 2 days!

3. Number of years teaching and practicing yoga.

Length of time teaching and or practicing yoga can greatly impact on a yoga teachers knowledge and skills.

5. Certification

Many styles of yoga such as Ashtanga or Iyengar provide their own in depth teacher training and certification involving years of study, these teachers are listed on their websites so just look them up.

In the last 5 years Yoga Alliance Certification has become popular and I respect their mission but looking further I discovered that they are generally the certifiing body for EXTREMELY short teacher training programmes.  

I realize that they were trying to prevent yoga teachers from being totally untrained but they have lowered the standards of yoga teacher training in my opinion.

Their first level of Yoga Teacher Training is a mere 200 hours. Reading the standards many of those hours do not have to be in the presence of a Registered Yoga Teacher. Some schools have manged to meet the 200 hour standards in one or two weeks of training! 🙂 Cannot figure that math! This is the level of a guide not a teacher.

Many yoga teachers who have taught since the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are not certified with this programme because of their minimum standards. 

I found the following Yoga Alliance Certified Programs on the web but I cannot imagine how the number of hours requested can be met in the time these programs alot.

 Yoga Alliance  do provide a searchable data base of their certified teachers. In the past I have found teachers visiting the island listing this certification but not listed on their directory. On contacting them they stated that ALL Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teachers are listed in their directory.

Last Note!

There is a recent move to license all yoga teacher training schools. Since the governing bodies in the US are often working with Yoga Alliance in this I don’t necessarily feel that this will improve the art of teaching yoga as their standards are so short.

In my humble opinion I feel moving yoga teacher training to a diploma or degree programme is the way to go. 

These are points to consider. Try a few different classes in your new area and see what yoga teacher most suits your needs and enjoy. If you do have an uncomfortable experience remember each yoga teacher is very differnet even within the same style so try another class.

Relevent Links

Yoga Teacher Training and Qualification UK

Licensed to Teach

You want people to have the best

Call it something else

To regulate or not to regulate Yoga Teacher

Yoga Teacher Training Schools Facing Licensure

Personal Trainer Licensing Debate – min 300 hours to be a personal trainer – 200 to be a yoga teacher?!?

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