Not so long ago, yoga teachers were not created, they evolved. They evolved out of their passion for yoga. They evolved out of commitment to their teacher. Gradually, slowly, they turned their passion into their profession. Slow doesn’t mean doing everything at a snail’s pace; it means doing everything at the right speed. And that means quality over quantity; real and meaningful human connections; being present and in the moment; and being open to learning from someone with wisdom and experience.
This process created a strong and trusting relationship between the teacher and the student. And eventually the student would become the teacher, and so the traditions of true learning would be passed down from generation to generation.
Now teachers are created. They don’t have time to evolve. And the precious sharing of knowledge between teacher and student is lost. The cycle is broken. Yoga is now a popular career choice which has produced an explosion of training courses to meet the demand. One study (Yoga Journal 2016) found that for every yoga teacher, there are another two interested in starting to teach yoga!
What impact has this had on how training courses are set up, and how does this affect teachers and practitioners of yoga?
New courses are popping up left, right, and centre all claiming to provide the knowledge and skills needed to become a yoga teacher. There are even online courses available that will make you a “qualified” teacher. These courses are completed in a matter of hours with no hands-on experience to guide them in learning how to demonstrate an asana or make adjustments. Does this form a high-quality teacher?
Unfortunately, these dropping standards mean one thing: The Traditional Path is now at severe risk of becoming extinct. As yoga is an unregulated industry, anyone can become a yoga teacher, and anyone can start a teacher training course, which is a significant concern for the future of yoga. This can lead to the blind leading the blind. There are no shortcuts to acquiring knowledge and experience.
Over time as the knowledge of traditional yoga and its philosophies are filtered down, it risks becoming lost to the pages of history.
The goal of Yoga Alliance Professionals is to encourage professionalism within the yoga industry.
There is growing concern that the standard of yoga teachers has fallen, with many new teachers choosing, through no fault of their own to learn from inexperienced trainers. The standards set by Yoga Alliance (US) allowed this to become the industry ‘standard’.
We set much higher standards as we believe that learning never stops and our Senior Yoga Teachers should have at least eight years of teaching experience and 4000 hours before they start to train others to become teachers. We stand by this belief today and will only work with Trainers who meet our standards and believe in helping to create professional yoga teachers.
If experienced and knowledgeable trainers can train future teachers — and this cycle continues — there is hope that the Traditional Path can survive. The future of yoga is in your hands, and we want to be a resource to help you get the word out!