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Ann Pizer

So You Want to Be a Yoga Teacher

By October 21, 2008

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Let's look at the bad news first: yoga teacher training programs are big business for yoga studios, and they are churning out new teachers all the time, so the market is crowded. The good news is, even if you don't ultimately become a teacher, training programs are a great way to deepen your practice and increase your knowledge of philosophy, anatomy, alignment, and sequencing.

October 22, 2008 at 10:39 am
(1) playsindirt says:

I’ve been a student of yoga for about 3 years now and I agree that there are way too many yoga teachers. I attend a fairly large studio in the midwest where they also conduct teacher training. I would say out of the 10 teachers on staff, only 2 are really gifted practitioners and know what they’re doing. I was shocked when I learned literally anybody can become a yoga teacher. There are women in the traning program at my studio currently who have been practicing less time than I have.

October 22, 2008 at 8:44 pm
(2) Ann Pizer says:

This is quite true, and is something I blogged about not long ago. I think some of the burden lies with the yoga studios. I understand them wanting to accept everyone into their teacher training programs- as I’ve said before, it’s big business for them and can really enrich someone’s practice even if they don’t want to teach. But not every teacher trainee needs to be given a class to teach right out of training- yoga students deserve better.

October 24, 2008 at 10:27 pm
(3) Kate says:

I have been a serious Yoga Student since I was 15. A track & field accident left me with a damaged lower back and the verdict from an Osteopath that I must exercise diligently all my life to keep being able to move or I could wear a back brace for the rest of my life and possibly have a steel rod inserted. And he suggested Yoga. That was very progressive, when you consider that was circa 1965. I had no choice but to study and learn on my own from the one and only Yoga book in our Public Library. When I was about 21 I had the amazing opportunity to study with Marcia Moore from the Boston area. After that I sought out as many great Yoga Teachers as I could find to learn to become a Teacher myself … again at that time certification wasn’t around. It wasn’t until MANY years later that I sought out an excellent in-residence Yoga School to “formalize” my edcuation. So … that was my long-winded way of saying that rushing into teaching Yoga is not a good thing. Namaste’

October 27, 2008 at 7:03 pm
(4) Lucy Holmes says:

Hi.. I wrote an article motivated by similar concerns;as for myself I have been in quite a dilemna trying to decide if I want to participate as a faculty member in YET ANOTHER yoga teacher training program (I am a 20 year veteran with something like 1500 hours of professional training). The balance is to find peace with the desire to provide more in-depth training vs. the concern that too many undertrained, under-experienced folks are out there teaching. What helps me find this peaceful balance is the knowledge that I myself started teaching as a very undertrained, underexperienced instructor, and I quickly realized that I need a great deal more in-depth knowledge or I’d better stop teaching…and this was AFTER taking my first 200-hour training! I definitely went for the deeper, longer, more committed training program(s). It is also my hope that the consumer (the yoga student) will ultimately help quide the market: students are requiring their teachers to know more than they do and will go to classes taught by well-informed, experienced teachers. There’s some support for you and the first comment!

October 28, 2008 at 12:05 am
(5) Ravi @ The Yoga Salon says:

While it is true that there are many new Yoga Teachers entering the market, there are also many that are stopping teaching, moving around, lessening their teaching workload or moving on to other endeavors.

In other words, there are plenty of GAPS to be filled.

Also, Yoga is still in its infancy in the western world. Last I saw (statistically speaking) there were over 20 million people in the US practicing yoga, and I believe that with an aging population, more and more people will turn to it as a sustainable form of fitness (and then discover the other benefits).

Lastly, I think there is room in ANY MARKET for a teacher that is committed, competent and passionate about what they are doing (no matter what the field).

October 30, 2008 at 2:15 pm
(6) anne says:

I think it is good to know that there are diferent levels of commitment and training for yoga teachers, based on seriousness and ability. While it is a pretty full market, there are ways to differentiate your skills if you are a serious yogi. Many people do follow this path because they want the philisophical underpinnings and in depth experience as well as wanting to be able to do yoga right on their own or with friends…


October 31, 2008 at 3:38 am
(7) Gordon says:

To me view there are two issues. The first, and to me the most important, is how are students being impacted. Are they being served by teachers trained in a weekend, or those who do not have a practice of their own? And within this, how can we as teachers address this issue within our industry because frankly folks are getting hurt. That in part do to their careless shopping of yoga based on price rather than offering but also due to insufficiently trained teachers.

The second issue is (impact on teachers) this bit about gaps and the market. Which in contrast to the first issue is barely a blip on my radar.

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