Something that many teachers, studios, and veterans in the yoga community have been discussing lately is whether or not a 200-hour yoga teacher training is really enough for a new student to teach professionally? And while there are many variables and opinions to this issue, it’s important for each individual looking to become a yoga instructor to look at this matter honestly for himself or herself.
The reason this is so important is because when someone who just paid $15 – $20 walks into a class and the teacher is still new and not up to par, this not only does a disservice to the people in the class, it also does a disservice to the community because those students will walk out and think “Was that yoga?”
It’s important to point out that within the origins of learning and teaching yoga, this type of education was a life long process that took many years (not just 200-hours.) While yoga is very different in the West and it mainly focuses on the fitness aspect, its still a relevant conversation to have especially since there are so many people that are counting on a teacher to assist them with their bodies and health.
Lets face it, most students who are just finishing their 200-hour series still have some bugs to work out before they are ready to teach yoga. While this is up for debate and of course everyone’s opinion will differ, more studios and veterans now agree that a 200-hour yoga certification is just not enough. While this was considered the standard for some time, more and more people are now viewing a 200-hour yoga teacher training as more of a pre-requisite then an actual full graduation.
Just think back to when you paid $15 – $20 to go to a class that was taught by someone who is fresh off the boat. While it’s nice to support and encourage someone, it’s also not fair to many people who are paying that money and are looking for a quality class. As the saying goes “Slow and steady wins the race”
Ok, there is no race but “slow and steady” is what we are focusing on here. Take it one step at a time. It’s understandable how you might be very excited and want to get out in front of people. But going out in front of a class who have paid good money so that you can still be figuring things out is not fair to them. There are many ways you can practice in front of people without having to jeopardize your name as a teacher or the studios name.
Another major factor about not coming out and teaching right after your 200-hour yoga teacher training is the fact that you could injure someone. Yes it is true, this can happen regardless of the amount of experience a teacher has. But a well grounded and experienced teacher has a lesser chance of getting someone injured versus a newer teacher. Just keep in mind that the yoga community already has a stigma of people getting injured and it’s probably not a good idea to add more weight to that argument.
So if you have just finished your 200-hour yoga teacher training or if you are considering taking one, before you go out there and make your official introduction to the world as a yoga teacher, here are some ways you can get some dry runs first:
1. Offer free classes in the park – There are many people who are exercising and looking for a little help. Tell them your situation and that the class is free. In exchange you just want some honest feedback.
2. Apprenticeship – See if there is a teacher you can take an apprenticeship with. This will offer you some great insight from the teacher not only on how to teach, but how he or she runs their business.
3. Immersion training – There are many schools out there that offer immersion trainings that are basically lighter versions of the 200-hour teacher training. This will allow you more practice and different perspectives from other teachers. Remember, a good education is about getting as many perspectives as you can and then putting them to the test yourself and see which works best for you.
4. Donation classes at a yoga studio – Many studios have “open slots” where they are not offering any classes. See if you can offer a $5 or donation class at a studio where they keep the money and you get more practice in. Make it clear to the students that you are just looking for more experience and feedback and that is why the class is only $5. This way their expectations are clearly set.
Once again, there are many variables to whether or not a 200-hour yoga teacher training is enough to teach professionally. Maybe you have been practicing for ten years and also studied dance your entire life. Or maybe you were just born to teach and are ready to go! But for most people who may have only been practicing yoga for a couple of years, it might be a good idea to take it slow and ease your way in to teaching full time.
Just remember that you owe it to the people who are paying good money to deliver a solid class and it is important to keep the name of “Yoga” in good standards for the rest of the community.
Yoga Teacher Training Schools – Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher and taking a yoga teacher training? Then check out our list of schools from around the world offering yoga certification programs.
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