I read some exchanges of thoughts somewhere on the social network. Some gurus argued over the importance of being a certified yoga teacher.
To be honest, it has been a constant source of debates, controversies, and arguments. That said, it raises a question in my mind: How vital is a yoga teacher certification for students?
Pujiastuti Sindu, the founder of Yoga Leaf, reasons at her site that all the fuss about certification is primarily because of standardization. I cannot agree more on that. Certified yoga teachers are assumed to be more knowldgeable and prepared on yoga realm than uncertified ones. Certification seems to answer the problems we have been dealing so far, such as the discrepancies of yoga teachings understanding. Certification ensures everyone signed up for it is taught the same way and gets relatively more or less the same curricula. Thus, there will be more
Yet, there are a number of downsides of this undertaking. By applying the certification policy, yoga enters the domain of business world. Yogapreneurship, writes Sindhu, emerges. And some people who were never interested in teaching yoga begin reconsidering this. Certification offers them an opportunity of upgrading in terms of incomes. Yes, they can’t deny that certification is the best way to justify a raise in salary because certificates help the holder look way more professional, a lot more experienced, and in some way, more credible in the eyes of students. It is not an easy and cheap way to get oneself certified so why should one stay in the current salary amount if s/he can make money more with the hard-earned sheets of papers?
Through the perspective of students, of course we appreciate more people with certificates. Students can trust a certified yoga teacher more because the certificate helps him to make sure a yoga teacher is really competent or not.
But it is not an end at all. The high appreciation and respect may be then revalued and reassessed over time. Gurus, or anyone claiming they’re gurus, could and should undergone a competence overhaul for a certain period of time. And to some extent, the overhaul in fact takes place every single day. A yoga teacher can lose what s/he actually deserves once s/he commits ethical codes, codes of conducts violations.
Experience, however, should accompany a certificate. Without the two, it is very unlikely to have a close-to-ideal yoga teacher. Experience is another crucial factor that can only be built and proven over time. Though Sindhu argues that experience is on top of credibility earned through certification, I would like to add that one’s natural talent of teaching is also another important factor. We have seen some people who are smart and talented in yoga practice but they don’t feel like teaching is their path. They just love to share yoga with him or herself or the closest. And there’re also some others who don’t really achieve a good mastery of yoga but they’re very good at teaching. Some who are unfortunate enough to neither possess teaching talent nor yoga mastery.
As for a future or aspiring yoga teacher, they ought to have the inward sensibility. Suppose a yogi/ni is an institution (just like schools, governments), s/he too must have the high sensibility and judgment on whether s/he deserves teaching or not. In other words, after receiving a teaching certificate, a future yoga teacher is supposed to be examining him/herself. S/he has now gotten a weapon in hand, what’s next?
That brings us to the next question: How prepared one’s mentality and well-being to teach yoga after obtaining a certificate? This proves to be the most crucial query yet the most delicate and challenging one to tackle. Only you can decide if you’re ready to teach or not. No one else can.
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