This is an accurate reflection of the current status of how many yoga teacher training courses are set up.
Historically, the process of becoming a yoga teacher would be organic, with a Senior Teacher passing down their knowledge and experience to their student for many years before the Senior Teacher decides if they are ready to start assisting. The student would be mentored to grow into the role of ‘teacher’. This setup allowed for trust to grow within the relationship and decades of knowledge to be passed down.
As yoga continues to proliferate, any teacher trainer will tell you that competition is rife. This is a global phenomenon as yoga teachers are being churned out at the rate of knots. So, what impact has this had on how training courses are run, and how does this affect teachers and practitioners of yoga?
Teacher training courses need to find an edge to make them a more attractive choice than the training course down the road. So, how can they best do this?
BE FIRST - Don't follow the crowd, follow the traditional where experience and knowledge come first. This is the fundamental structure that Yoga Alliance Professionals is based on. To run a teacher training course, the lead teacher MUST be an accredited Senior Yoga Teacher, which means they must have been teaching yoga for a minimum of 8 years. Additionally, the Senior Yoga Teacher must teach a minimum of 70% of the course.
BE BETTER - This is a little more subjective. As well as the teacher being ‘good’, the course structure should be set up in a professional and transparent manner so that the student has access to sufficient material to make an informed decision before signing up. This is also something that we actively support. All of our accredited Foundation training courses must be a minimum of 200-hours with 90% being contact hours. We also require accredited training courses to have an accurate course description and clear Terms & Conditions available to interested students so they can make an informed decision before signing up.
CHEAT - This is the category that many teacher training courses fall into. There is no legal barrier to prevent anyone from setting up a teacher training course anywhere in the world, as yoga is not regulated. The temptation to create a competitive advantage by shortening the course (thereby making it cheaper) or starting to run a training course when the lead teacher is not ready, is growing. Sometimes, ambitious teachers want to jump the gun and take the next step on the ‘yoga ladder’. We think that wisdom comes with age - there is no shortcut and these are the very principles that Yoga Alliance Professionals was built on and continues to promote today.
Now, we accept that doing something for a long time does not necessarily mean you are good at it. Nor that having a course meeting a certain number of hours produces a quality course. How can we set the yard stick on this?
We accomplish this by setting high minimum standards to qualify as a yoga teacher. We have focused on WHO is teaching the course, the LENGTH of the course, the SETUP of the course and also ensuring the syllabus is clear so students can choose the right course for them.
We understand why some ‘accrediting’ bodies have lower standards, such as allowing teachers with as little as 2 years of yoga teaching experience run teacher training programmes. They are running a business and they want to grow as big and as fast as possible to gain the industry monopoly. This is fairly standard business practice, but this is not our growth strategy. We are a Not-for-Profit organisation. Our aim is not to blindly generate money for a professional market gain. We are driven by raising the quality of yoga teachers worldwide - to encourage traditional structure to continue for generations to come.
YOU have a voice in all of this! We implore you to use that voice and demand higher standards from training courses. You deserve the best, do not compromise your future.
If you are not sure whether your course meets our standards, we can evaluate your course: