The practice of yoga has been so powerful and influential in the lives of people all over the world that the desire to learn and know more about it has led to increased interest in pursuing it as a career. The spike in new yoga teachers is growing immensely and there is much curiosity about what it takes to become a teacher and so forth. I thought it would be interesting to write a little post it and explain to you three questions that I never answer as a yoga teacher and why. Check it out.
No. 1 | Should I Get Certified to Be A Yoga Teacher?
The reality is, no you don’t need to be certified to teach yoga. It’s not yet a legal requirement to be able to teach because yoga is new it has not yet been regulated in the same ways that say, personal training is. However, what I’ve seen to be true is that having a certification legitimizes your credibility as a teacher for many employers and gives you a lot of foundational and anatomical information that is important for you to have to teach a safe and effective class.
That said, I don’t believe that I, or anyone for that matter, has the authority to decide for someone what they should or shouldn’t do. I know for me personally, I didn’t realize how much deeper the practice of yoga was until I did my 200 hour teacher training. It gave me a lot of insight from people with a lot more experience than I did and opened up a whole new world for me. I gained so much from it and it helped me not only as a teacher but as a person looking to grow and develop myself. It was a powerful experience, especially because it is a group experience and it absolutely changed my life.
In the same breath, I know amazing teachers that don’t have any formal training and are completely self-taught. They hold regular yoga classes at gyms and other legitimate institutions and are incredible instructors that lead safe classes. It all depends. However, if you go the self-taught route, remember there is a lot to learn on your own and experience teaching lots of classes will be invaluable. At the end of the day, you have to decide what feels and works best for you and understand what both options have to offer as well as what challenges they may present.
You can also ask a few people in the yoga community who you respect about their thoughts to help you come to a decision that’s right for you.
No. 2 | (This) part of my body hurts when I do (this pose), do you know what that is?
Nope. I sure don’t. We are yoga teachers but we are not trained or skilled enough in the areas of anatomy and physiology to be able to explain to someone what is going on in their body. We aren’t doctors and giving someone a “diagnosis” can actually be a liability for us. If you happen to be a doctor and a yoga teacher, more power to you, and you can perhaps recommend someone come see you for a consultation.
Would I ever say to someone, “I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.” Absolutely not! What I do normally say is something like, “You know, I’m not sure. If this is causing you pain though you may want to try this (offer a modification for the pose), but if that doesn’t help then you might want to think about consulting a doctor. You can always come to child’s pose or any other pose you find restful when we come to this part of the sequence or anytime during the practice if it’s bothering you.”
Keep it short and sweet but do not get yourself into telling someone what’s wrong with them because the truth is you probably don’t know. By “diagnosing” someone you are assuming that you do know and this could have negative repercussions on them, being given an inaccurate assessment and on you, being potentially liable for giving them bad information. Just don’t do it. Trust me on this one!
No. 3 | What documents do I need to travel abroad?
Again, this is one of those areas where it will benefit you to speak from experience only. In my case, I have dual citizenship so I didn’t need to apply for visas or pursue additional documentation to be granted entrance to Europe. When people ask me this question, I tell them exactly what I just told you. However, if you are a person who has applied for a visa or other documentation to get into a country, I would advise you direct someone to the same portals you used to find information.
Everyone’s case is different and in order not to raise expectations that may fall short or disappoint anyone, I wouldn’t give specifics on what is needed to get into a particular country. You can always say something like, “Check out this information online. This is where I found out what I needed to be able to work in (x) country. They have some contact information if you have questions and I am sure they can help you with that!”
Sweet and simple, don’t get yourself tangled into anything. Unfortunately, we as humans can create expectations based on what others tell us and when they don’t come to fruition we blame the person who told us different. Don’t be that person! Give good information on where to find information. Make sense?
I hope this was helpful for all my yoga teachers out there! If you are an aspiring yoga teacher then this one is also for you. Catch you next time!
Peace, Love and Namaste!