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Yoga Teacher Training - Certification & Registration
Yoga Certification Home > Importance of Certification & Registration

Yoga Teacher Training - The Importance of Certification & Registration

By Arun Goel

Aspirants enquiring about the right Yoga Teacher Training program, invariably want to know - "Will the Yoga Teacher Training program help me teach Yoga in my country?" OR "Is this an Internationally valid certification?"

It is unfortunate that participants remain clueless about the sanctity of the course, even though they end up spending thousands of dollars!

The Truth about Yoga Teacher Training Certification:
Based on our research, there are no rules or regulations in most countries for being able to teach Yoga. This includes Western nations like the US, UK, Canada, the European Union or even countries like Japan and Australia.

In short, almost no country has any regulation governing the teaching of Yoga.

What does this mean for you?
You are welcome to choose a program of your choice, so long as it offers you a Certificate of Yoga Teacher.

Please Note: It would seem from the above that the concept of "International" Certification is a myth and there is no relevance to the concept of seeking "International" Certification.

Yoga Alliance, IYF, BWY and Others
So, where do Yoga Alliance, the International Yoga Federation (IYF), BWY and other smaller bodies offering Yoga Standards come in?

These bodies are self-created Registries that have devised standards for Yoga teachers. Being registered with them implies that as a teacher or school, you meet the standards of yoga teaching as devised by them.

Please Note: These Registries are independent bodies and it is NOT mandatory to be registered with them to teach in their countries or any country for that matter.

Unfortunately, an impression seems to have gone around that it is necessary to be on their registries to teach.

This is simply NOT true.

So, is it Useless being on these Registries?
Not so. Whatever be the motivation for creating standards, the fact is that these Registries are an attempt to bring some "method in the madness" of Yoga teaching even though the criteria and method employed to determine this is debatable.

Indeed, several yoga teachers – especially the senior and experienced ones – argue the very need for the method as espoused by these registries. They argue that yoga is to be taught as a lineage; as a kind of hand me down from Master to student.

Nevertheless, the fact is that being on these Registries can be useful in several respects.

Benefits of being Registered
  1. Increased Job Opportunities: Several (not all) Studios insist on a teacher being registered as a prerequisite for the job on offer.

  2. Guarantee of "Authenticity": In the absence of any alternative methods of evaluation, prospective students have only such "authenticity" stamps to base their decisions on which class to join.

  3. Better "Business" Prospects: When teachers on such registries start their own Teacher Training programs, their students are automatically entitled to receive a "registered" teacher status without much additional effort. This push-effect dramatically increases the prospects of getting more students for the Teacher Training Course.
    We, ourselves, have witnessed a dramatic increase in student enrollment for Registered Courses on HealthAndYoga as opposed to non-registered ones.

  4. Future of Yoga: Much as some may dislike, many of these Registries are trying to influence Government and Professional bodies to recognize their standards as the minimum requirements for Yoga teaching eligibility. In the absence of any alternatives, coupled with the enthusiasm of Registries to push their case, it seems that authorities would succumb in the interest of the safety of their citizens. So, perhaps joining these registries may be beneficial.

Disadvantages & Caveats:
As every action results in both, positive and negative reactions, so too the following caveats may be in order:
  1. Expensive: It is believed that many Registered Schools & teachers charge unreasonable and exorbitant fees for the "badge" that they hold. Innocent and uninformed students, expecting the "badge" to be everything get ripped off without reaping any commensurate returns in the future.

  2. Exploitation: There are also reports of such schools having teachers "for Free" and students complying to meet the requirement of adequate teaching hours experience.

  3. Poor Instruction: Ironically, these Registries are encouraging the spawning of "teachers-on-paper". This is the very opposite of what was intended. Many of the senior teachers, teaching far before these registries even came into being, refuse to acknowledge, leave alone become a member of them. On the other hand, young, relatively inexperienced, professional and tech savvy enough to manage paperwork, are increasingly making it to the Registries. This is a dangerous trend in which the innocent student can suffer greatly.

Conclusion:
It would seem the best option for aspiring Yoga teachers would depend upon their motivation for the same –

If the intention is solely to become a great teacher with deep knowledge of the subject, then there is no need to learn through affiliated schools. In fact, some of the best yoga institutions and schools are not affiliated nor do they consider it worthwhile to be affiliated to these Registries.

In such case, it is best to rely on own research and word-of-mouth, which to date remains the best method of evaluation (in the true spirit of yoga tradition).

Alternatively, one can seek out websites offering some kind of rating of Yoga Teacher Training programs independent of their affiliations.

If, however, one is guided by concerns of making a better living (read, money) then enrolling with schools that are registered can be an advantage, subject to the caveats dealt with earlier.

 
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