Many people compare the Yoga teacher certification process to a big hurdle in life, but the day an intern receives his or her diploma, for teaching Yoga, is only the beginning of the journey.
The day of graduation, from student to Yoga teacher, could be compared to a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis. For a new Yoga teacher, this is the beginning of a quest to learn about the body, mind, and spirit.
Each is a vast field, within itself, and you could compare Yoga subjects to flowers in a field. It is easy to become confused as to which Yoga subject we should study first. Is there a way to “streamline” the journey, and get to the next horizon, before another Yoga teacher finds it?
The journey is not a race, but a path of self-improvement. Many people spend their lives in a race to “chase their tails.” Enjoy each day, like a new verse to your favorite song.
Yoga teachers should learn not to get caught up in pursuit of deadlines and today’s hectic lifestyle. This is easier said than done; but students come to Yoga classes for stress relief; and a Yoga teacher who is “stressed out” is of little help to them.
So, what is the answer? Choose a direction of continuing education, which “calls to you.” This happened before, when you initially decided to become a Yoga teacher.
Make a habit of writing in a journal, so that you can plan your Yoga teaching path. Pursue Yoga subjects that are directly related to your interests and the needs of your Yoga students. You must do both; the specific needs of your Yoga students take priority over your independent interests.
This concept is clear to see, if you are receiving doctor referrals for Yoga students, with a variety of ailments. You have no choice, but to research the particular ailments and related Yoga subjects. In your free time, you can pursue your independent Yoga studies.
There are so many areas of knowledge for a Yoga teacher to pursue – when you consider asanas, mantras, mudras, pranayama, meditation, nadis, chakras, Sanskrit, and more.
Some Yoga teachers are seeking physical prowess by learning hundreds of asanas, and that is a healthy pursuit. Physical solutions can easily be seen and felt, especially if you have a young body. As the body ages, we learn there is much more to Yoga than the physical solutions, which worked so well when we were young.
New Yoga teachers often ask, “Which aspect of Yoga should I pursue first?” The answer is: pranayama. Pranayama is the cultivation of life force, and we take it for granted. If we look at Pranayama as, “just breathing,” consider how long you will last by holding onto the single breath you have right now. Breath is life in this moment. Without it, none of us will exist for long.
When you receive a Yoga teacher certification, look at your diploma, and take a deep breath. This is the beginning of learning pranayama as a Yoga teacher. The more you learn about pranayama, the smoother your journey will be.
Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.