I often come across articles on the Internet criticizing how numerous yoga practitioners these days are getting some sort of teaching certification. These write-ups question the necessity of acquiring such credentials at the early stage of one’s practice. There is now a growing concern about inevitably having inexperienced, unqualified “certified” teachers in our midst if this trend continues.
This attitude of berating our peers is so un-yogi-like. I feel that as a yoga community, all of us should inspire and encourage the growth of everyone as an individual. It is not for any of us to say who qualifies or not to obtain an RYT-200, because people doing this have their own, valid reasons. Some people opt for this training to deepen their personal practice and have no intention of teaching at all. Some experienced practitioners/teachers go through this “bureaucracy” because it’s the only way for them to further their careers. And there are those who, like me, would like to test the waters of teaching.
My take on teaching asanas started early this year when my mentor, Helen, offered specialized teacher training to the next set of Marichi Yoga House teachers. I fell in love with teaching almost immediately. Giving cues, aligning students, asking them to let go of their baggage and their ego before coming into their mats just gave me a sense of joy that not even receiving snide looks and remarks from some students could put me off. My practice was relatively young (and it still is), since I only started doing asanas in April 2013. But my God, how my life has changed (particularly my attitude). With yoga, I found my peace. And I would like to share it to anyone who would listen. My practice may be young, but I believe my heart is in the right place. And so I do what I can to deepen my practice and develop my teaching skills.
While none of us may have a say on who gets “certified”, we do have a say on who we let into our lives. We can always choose which teachers we want to take classes from. I know that “certified” does not necessarily equate to “qualified”, but I would like to believe that anyone who has the heart to teach yoga would never allow themselves to compromise the growth and safety of their students. Current and aspiring yoga teachers do their maximum best to give the students their time and money’s worth for the experience.
But let us keep in mind that as individuals, we should not solely rely on the teacher for our ultimate growth in the practice. Although it is true that a knowledgeable teacher must be able to guide us safely through our asanas and pranayamas, we cannot possibly depend our lives on them. For one, teachers are also human beings. They DO NOT know EVERYTHING. But they do know how to keep you safe. Safety is crucial. Having said that, we must also do our part as students to ensure that our practice remains a safe, sacred and solid personal experience.
So, instead of bashing our aspiring/current teachers, let us offer them our constructive criticism instead. They will greatly appreciate honesty as it will help their growth as teachers too. Negativity only leads to hostility. Let us be kind and patient with them as they are with us. And don’t get too bothered with the fact that everyone (and their sister) is getting certified! Let it go! 😀