Lets face it these days everybody and their dog has either taught yoga, is teaching yoga or wants to teach yoga. In fact a teacher of mine once said when the checkout chick is an International yoga teacher running retreats and workshops, it’s time to consider your options.
Lately it seems like every time I scroll down my newsfeed I read about the pitfalls and issues involved in scoping out the best teacher training or the dilemmas of being an unemployed yoga teacher. In fact one blog emphasises that any teacher-training program that guarantees you’ll get a job is just duping you out of your $3000.
So what’s the scoop? Why do we think that being a yoga teacher is such a big deal and what is the deeper and more meaningful reason we might want to embark on the road to being a yoga teacher?
To be honest I never planned to be a yoga teacher. In fact when I first started yoga I didn’t even like it. I was coerced into practice purely to manage my back pain. I was a dancer and for me yoga was about physical longevity nothing more. I was interested in finding a style and practice that provided a mechanistic view of the body. It wasn’t that I wasn’t philosophical, I had always questioned my existence, but existential thinking and yoga? They were two separate things. Yoga teaching was also something I stumbled into. I was pregnant when a fellow yogi approached me to teach a prenatal class. I became a teacher without ever having done a formal teacher training.
As my teaching and practice evolved so did my curiosity and eventually the existential question “why am I here, what is this all about and what’s the point,” merged with my experience of practice.
At 34 after more than 10 years of practice and teaching I began to see yoga as a path. I didn’t know where it would lead, but I was sure I’d find out. That same year I met my teacher Alan Finger the founder of Ishta yoga.
So what was the next step? Did I finally take a teacher training and gain certification? No… by then it was too late and apparently back then I was too experienced. Instead I was invited to help develop the teacher training program and to train the teachers at Alan’s school another unexpected opportunity. Some of today’s top teacher trainers trained with us in Alan’s teacher training program.
Why was it so successful ?
1. It was before yoga boomed, before global yogi perks, gargantuan yoga festivals, acro and hoop yoga and ayahuasca cacao ceremonies. Back then yoga was for serious and sincere yoga practitioners looking for answers. Their practice was the priority, teaching a byproduct of passion and enthusiasm.
2. Most people when asked why they signed up replied, “I found yoga healing, peaceful, it changed my life so much, gave me hope, helped me to find out more about how to manage my life and I wanted to share that with others.”
3. Back in the day the motivation was to help others, not to help yourself.
So what’s happened? How did we fall into the mass consumption of yoga to the point that most teachers are no more than glorified gym instructors? When did the cost of a training, location and length outweigh the need to study with experienced and sincere teachers who could actually answer the questions that brought us to yoga in the first place?
Basically we got lazy. We turned yoga into a business and sacrificed it on the altar of commercialism. It’s a down-dog world out there and we all want our market share.
Don’t get me wrong I absolutely believe in yoga and it’s benefits I’ve taken hard knocks like everyone else and learned that yoga is not a path to bliss. Nothing “out there” can answer my questions. Because any experience I have in a relative sense can never tell me about the experiencer. No matter how much I study, read and practice it can’t tell me about the one who is asking the questions.
Because when I look for answers in a book or in a practice I’ll always take the default position. Choosing what’s comfortable or what I relate too. That’s the nature of mind. It doesn’t know anything other than what it knows. And that’s why we are all caught in this yoga loop. A sincere and passionate person is easily seduced by a less is more attitude. Cheap and fast in an exotic location, beats experience any day.
So what’s the solution? We can’t turn back the clock and erase the proliferation of yoga any more than we can ‘save ‘ the planet. What we can do is get real and get informed and sincerely question our real motivation for considering teacher training.
Sincerely seeking answers and wanting to share your passion and enthusiasm for yoga in a down to earth and practical way? We still have a few spaces left in this years Byron Yoga Teacher Training in the Ishta System October 21- November 29. 2013. Early bird special closes August 21st.