June 3, 2019 | Mimi Partha Sarathy
Read Time: 12 minutes
If you intend to start a career teaching Yoga or want to explore the vast dept of Yoga and wellness and with wide array of choices available to take up yoga teacher certification in India, here is a guide to help you choose an authentic yoga teacher training institute.
What is yoga? This is a question which will elicit extremely varied responses from people. For some yoga is a physical exercise; for some it’s a way to control the mind; some say it’s a tool to improve one’s breathing pattern; for some it’s a spiritual tool; and for some it’s an inward journey. In today’s context, yoga is looked at as a panacea for all ills! In order to understand if one or all of these is the right answer or whether yoga is a sum of all of these or something more than all of these or maybe it’s something completely different, one must seek the right guidance and teachers.
Yoga Teacher Training in India – The Role of a Yoga Teacher
The role of teacher is extremely critical in yoga. We all know that a teacher plays a very crucial role in the development of a student in any sphere of life. The teacher lays the foundation for the shaping of an individual whether in academics, sport, music, dance or any other field. The role of teacher become even more crucial in yoga as yoga is such a deep, individualistic and highly complex subject. One needs to look and zero in on a Yoga teacher’s training certification program which will open and reveal the various facets of yoga in a slow, steady manner enabling a person to gently and gradually immerse oneself in this fascinating world of yoga.
How to Decide which Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program is the right one?
There are any number of training courses being offered in India. The options available vary from short term courses like a 100 hours course to comparatively long term courses of around 500 hours; some courses focus on the asana or the physical aspect alone, some on pranayama or the breathing component and some on meditation and some courses give a glimpse into all these and more. How does one decide which training program would be the right one!
Self-discipline, Consistency & Commitment – Qualities that need to be imbibed
Yoga works at the physical, breath, mental and the spiritual levels and requires a high degree of self-discipline, consistency and commitment. A person seeking to become a yoga teacher would need to imbibe these qualities and it should become his/her second nature. And this in turn would lead to him/her shaping into a teacher who can in turn impart knowledge with ease and authority. A short-term course over a few months cannot do justice to the objective of equipping a person to get trained to become a teacher who can take classes with authority. The course should be spread over ten to twelve months at least so that one gets enough time and space for the teachings to settle in.
Mastering Yoga take time
In order to learn and move towards mastering any subject, one must devote enough and undivided time, effort and attention. Even just to learn a highly objective subject like say the alphabets of the English language, one needs to give it enough time and focus and how well and in what time frame one learns varies from person to person. Then for a subject like yoga which is so very subjective and layered and is a way of life, it becomes essential that one takes it slowly. One must remove and set aside many preconceived notions about yoga, start with a clean slate and then slowly open, receive, reflect, internalise and assimilate the knowledge. This is a lifelong ongoing journey and a good initial training program sets the right, strong foundation. A short-term course will not be able to do any justice in this direction; one won’t even be able to scratch the surface. One should seek a long-term well-plannedcourse which would open up the horizons and lay the strong foundation required in the journey of yoga. And for a person who seeks to become a Yoga teacher, it’s absolutely imperative that one gets trained from an institute which is rooted in the tradition of yoga and has teachers who themselves have trained under illustrious guru from a great lineage and the guru shishya parampara is well respected and firmly established.
A Complete Yoga Training Program should contain elements of Asana, Pranayama & Dhyana
The Yoga Teacher’s Training program should extensively cover all the essential aspects of yoga and the content should be covered in depth. The course should lay a strong grounding of the philosophical aspects of various components ranging from asana (physical postures) to breath regulation(pranayama) to meditation (Dhyana). The course should cover the scriptures such as the Yoga Sutra, Bhagavad Geeta, Hatha Yoga Pradipika which forms the backbone of yoga practices. The program should also train the students in the classical ways of doing the asanas, pranayama and meditation and at the same time equip the students to realise, understand and appreciate the importance of being able to modify the classes according to the requirement of each yoga practitioner. The teachers after finishing the training program should be able to draw up appropriate course plans to conduct classes keeping the varied needs of their prospective students.
Yoga is not just Exercising the body. Learning about the Physiology & Anatomy are Important
The course should equip the new teachers with knowledge of allied fields of the physiology and anatomy of the human body, psychology and Ayurveda. The program should delve deep and have a lasting impact on the students. The course should kindle a lifelong process of discovery and mindfulness which is the underlying principle of yoga. A teacher graduating from such an in-depthprogram only can impart the right teachings to his/her students and in the process will continuously be on a learning curve.
The Authenticity & Credibility of the Yoga Institution that imparts the Training
The institution from which one seeks to do the training program is of great importance. It should be a well-established institution steeped in tradition and scriptures. But at the same time aware of the present needs of the society. The institution should be open, inclusive and welcoming of students from varied backgrounds and let each student experience and grow during the duration of the course. The institution should have experienced and well qualified teachers who are focused on sharing and teaching what they have learnt from their great teachers. The teachers seek the protection, growth and development of each of the students so that they go on to become fine yoga teachers. Lastly look out for reviews of previous students who have graduated from that institute
A holistic approach to learning & mastering Yoga
There are no short cuts to achieving anything good in life. Any institution/ course promising to teach advanced asanas or mastering breath regulation or success in meditation should be questioned. Yoga and every component of yoga is a very personalised, individualistic process of learning and experiencing. It is a two-way process between the teacher and student and each of the teacher has a unique relation with each of the students and the learning process starts with the course and goes on well beyond the course. A good training program ignites this learning process and make the student independent enough to explore it further at his/her own pace. There are many courses which focus only on asanas or breath or some such other aspect. Such courses will result in a lop-sided exposure to yoga and a teacher trained in this way will be handicapped in his/her journey as a teacher. A good training program should be holistic and well rounded.
A teacher who finishes and graduates in such a holistic training program will be well placed to take classes. Such a teacher will have the confidence of conducting and doing justice to the classes. And there will be complete conviction in what he/she teaches. The true yoga journey which starts with enrolling for such a course will continue even after graduating while sharing whatever one has learnt with others. What one learns during the course will sink in more, make more sense and one will understand and appreciate all that one was taught. The training program will open avenues of starting one’s own yoga studio or taking classes in the best of yoga studios across the country or taking individual personalised classes. And one’s own yoga practice including asana, pranayama and dhyana will deepen and get elevated to a higher level. Such a course brings in mindfulness and heightened awareness in all of one’s activities and paves the way for a much more fulfilling life.
Hope this blog helped you gather some insights to help you understand what you should be looking for in a Yoga Teacher Training Certification Coursethat would help you take an informed decision. Meanwhile do visit our last blog on 5 Reasons to Take up a Certified Yoga Teacher Training Course. Happy reading!