Becoming A Yoga Teacher
Did you know that anyone can be a Yoga instructor? Anyone at any time can say that they know how to teach Yoga and can easily begin selling Yoga classes. There is no certification required, no registration, no education.
Of course, we know that this is not what makes a person a Yoga teacher. The ability to instruct people to move through various postures does not necessitate special training. However, the skills needed to guide people through a Yoga sequence that intentionally creates physical, energetic and emotional change requires depth of study and practice. The Yoga Alliance provides us with a set of guidelines to follow in our training.
Self Study is one of the most important practices a Yoga teacher must do. While studying the texts, philosophies and practices of Yoga we must apply that which we learn to our lives. We must move with the intention of noticing how it effects our own bodies and live as witnesses and observers of our own thoughts, speech and actions.
Teaching Yoga requires constant practice and study. It requires self awareness, continued study, growth and development. A Yoga teacher is always practicing, but not always posing. They are developing deeper awareness of themselves in order to gain a better understanding of the practitioners whom they guide.
Intense, but not Intensive
The training required to become a Yoga teacher is intense, but it should not be intensive. The quality of the training a blossoming practitioner attends can make the difference between them becoming an instructor or a teacher.
The most common initial Yoga teacher training program is 200 hours in length. A comprehensive program includes everything from history to anatomy and should also cover the philosophy and practices of traditional Yoga. To fully grasp these concepts it is important that a budding teacher apply them to life. To do this, we must walk the walk and talk the talk, everywhere. We must take the time to understand and apply everything we learn. A quality Yoga teacher takes the time necessary to develop themselves, their knowledge and their own practice.
Everyone has their own special set of skills. A quality Yoga teacher does more than instruct poses. They absorb themselves into the practice and radiate their passion into the studio as well as out in the world. Every aspect of their life is dissolved in Yoga. Listen to how your teacher speaks, watch them move, notice what they do while demonstrating or moving through the room. Listen for their unique set of skills.
Learn about your teacher. Do they have a degree? In what field? What lives did they live before they became a Yoga teacher? How does their past effect the way in which they teach? Each one of us applies that which we had learned before we became Yoga teachers to the way in which we teach and live. When you practice with a quality Yoga teacher you will be able to see, hear and feel who they are as a result of their past experiences.
Value Your Teacher
Standing on your head, jumping from downward dog to handstand and being able to wrap your legs behind your shoulders does not qualify you to teach Yoga. In fact, many teachers lack the flexibility to access many of the party trick poses you will find on Instagram. In addition, just because your teacher can do these things that does not mean they can teach you to access the positions in your body or that your body can move in those ways.
Think about your favorite teachers in school. What qualities made them memorable? A quality Yoga offers more than instruction during a work out. They offer space, energy, guidance, support, instruction, direction, passion, enthusiasm and themselves. The practice of Yoga is their way of life and they share their life with you every time they teach.
When you find your quality Yoga teacher let them know how much you value them by paying full price, letting others know what makes them different and showing up to support what they do and to learn and grow with them.
Celebrate Yourself by Celebrating Others
The practice of Santosha is defined as having an attitude of contentment through which unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy and satisfaction is obtained.
We humans seem to always be seeking satisfaction in the external world and our internal fantasies. Only when we comfortably accept what we currently have will be able to do the practices that lead to the highest realization.
Begin to practice Santosha by celebrating those in your life who help you to feel happy, comfortable and joyful. Realize the satisfaction and contentment that results from having them in your life.
Practice Yoga Everyday, Everywhere
Just because September has been designated as "National Yoga Month" doesn't mean that you should stop practicing when the month has ended. Just like any other lifestyle Yoga is to be practiced regularly in order to have the best effect.
Remember that Asana is just one eighth of the practice. There are seven other fabulous aspects that you can incorporate into your life. Conscious breathing, mindful focus, inward awareness, etc. can all effect you at home, at work and while out enjoying the world.
Your health depends upon more than just one month of Yoga. The best time to begin is now and the best time to continue is forever.
Contentment Happens When We Let Go
Most of our lives are driven by control. We have schedules, responsibilities, places to be and people to see. Add the practice of Yoga to your daily schedule. Join a class, follow a video, book a private session. Booking the time for yourself will allow you the opportunity to let go.
Your time in the practice is time to let go. Release the worries and stresses of the day. Relax and know that there is no where else to be. Learn to practice taking time out for yourself. Learn to change your lifestyle with Yoga.
Practice Yoga, Change Your Life
Yoga is, if nothing else, a practice in mind over matter. The more we practice, the more we begin to change the way we feel, see and engage in the world. Join us and learn to begin creating change. It may not happen quickly, but that feeling of Santosha (contentment) will slowly express itself as you continue to focus upon Discovering Your Self.