Yoga Teacher Training.
So you’re thinking of embarking on a yoga teacher training course, and wondering how do you choose from the hundreds available on line?
Today there are a plethora of yoga teacher training courses available, this was not the case until quite recently. For my own part, I did not even consider training as a yoga teacher before I was forty. I would not have considered myself ready emotionally or have the sufficient life/yoga experience.
There was until quite recently just a couple of awarding bodies to choose from, the British Wheel of Yoga and The British School of Yoga. The British Wheel of Yoga was the largest body, and their courses were around two to three years in length. The British School of Yoga is a distance course and I believe it’s taken as modules in your own time.
The BWY has always considered itself as the governing body of yoga for the UK, I don’t know how credible this is as there are no universal rules or guidelines on yoga in the UK that I am aware of. There are a couple of ways to view the concept of national rules and guidelines for governing yoga in the UK. I have had conversations with fellow long standing yoga teachers on this very subject, and some do advocate setting universal standards for yoga, the question arises on who sets the rules and who polices them. I personally believe this would suffocate yoga, but I do know from experience that teaching standards in the UK vary immensely. I have heard from other teachers on their mixed experiences of yoga teacher training courses, and on the face of it setting universal standards for teacher training schools would seem the sensible thing to do. The question is how would this work on a day to day basis, and again who would police the schools. Who would decide on breaches of conduct, and how would discipline be maintained.
I had an email recently on this very question, the student was confused by the choices available and asked for my advice on making a decision. I can see how a governing body with recommended schools may help answer the question for this student. The down side for me would be the potential dumbing down of yoga, I think it would stop schools expressing themselves.
There now is more choice available for the potential student, and I think this puts the responsibility with the student to research their choice thoroughly before making a decision. I would advise the student to ask the training provider about their linage, and their philosophy. I think it helps if the student has an idea on what they are looking for, one of the advantages of lots of choice is there will be a school for everyone.
The other awarding bodies available now are Yoga Alliance, which is based in the USA and is a recognised brand globally. Yoga Alliance UK is based in Edinburgh and has a steadily growing number of schools offering courses accredited with them. They also have schools in Europe and Asia now accredited with them. Yoga Dharma Teacher Training is accredited with both Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance UK. We offer 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training courses, on a residential basis from our centre in Bulgaria, and here at Yoga Dharma Southend on regular monthly modules. The Independent Yoga Network is an offshoot of the British Wheel of Yoga, ironically, set up to counter the concept of national standards and allow for independent expression. There is also the Sivananda school of Yoga, which runs I believe one month intensives from their ashrams.
I think on balance I would choose to stay away from governing bodies in Yoga, if it came about I think I would close my doors because it would take away my independence as a yoga teacher. Yoga is about freedom and liberation, not rules and if we saddle it with health and safety and become afraid to let students express themselves in our schools then what is the point. We must be responsible for our own actions, as a teacher and student and if we let someone else set the rules for us we lose our opportunity to practice yoga as it is intended.
The answer to the question set by the student on what choice she should make comes right back on itself. Don’t be afraid to make a choice, there are no bad decisions, and if it does not go the way we expect or hope then we must bring into play karma. If we accept responsibility for all our actions, then what is there to be afraid of, if we act with sincerity then we can’t go wrong.