Lately, there has been a fuss over who has a right to become a Yoga teacher; but let’s look at some of the variables to consider if you desire to teach Yoga. Consider the following questions, “from both sides of the Yoga certification debate.” Do you have the correct Yoga lineage? This is interesting because – what exactly is the correct Yoga lineage? There are so many styles of Yoga and many sub-styles of those Yoga styles. In general, you should know who your Yoga teachers were and possibly who their teachers were.
However, Yoga traveled outside of India in a variety of ways. Although there have been many famous Indian Gurus who helped Yoga flourish worldwide, the British carried Yoga abroad, as well. There are competent Yoga teachers, who trace their Yoga lineage back to Englishmen, who served in India. Some of the first non-Indian Yoga teachers did not have extensive Yoga training under the guidance of a Guru, but a few did. Consider this idea: If you know nothing about Yoga, but I know a little something – I can show you what little I know. This happens with any form of shared knowledge, and the person who knows a little more about Yoga, becomes a Yoga teacher. Granted, we are considering the beginning of Yoga’s worldwide proliferation, but now we have 21st century Yoga teacher certification in a fast-changing world – with a variety of styles and approaches to overall health.
There are many new forms of Hatha Yoga being created and evolving at this moment. If you have a traditional Yoga lineage, that’s wonderful, but times change, and so does Yoga. I can remember when some traditional Yoga teachers did not believe in the Yoga teacher certification process. For example: The master Yoga teacher did not have a Yoga teacher’s diploma and would not fill one out for their long-time students, who worked as “substitute Yoga teachers,” in the ashram. Some of these substitutes had over twenty years of experience in Yoga practice and taught classes when the master teacher was on vacation, but the master Yoga teacher would still not certify them. Meanwhile, some Yoga certifications were obtained, over a weekend Yoga teacher training intensive, by people who just needed a quick Yoga certification for a health club.
So, who has a right to become a Yoga teacher? Anybody, I guess, but Yoga certification bodies should stick to the 200-study hour minimum standard for graduates of their Yoga teacher training programs. Yoga teacher interns should have at least two years of steady practice, under the guidance of a Yoga teacher, before entering the Yoga teacher certification process. Correspondence and distance learning for Yoga teachers should also conform to the 200-hour minimum standard.