Yoga Practice

Is everyone trained to teach yoga?

A few months into my yoga practice, I got an email from my studio, inviting me to join their teacher training program. I thought it was the oddest thing. I finished the month-long beginners series for ashtanga not too long before that and was still struggling to find time to get on my mat more than once a week. And they thought I was ready to teach yoga?

More than anything, this image made me giggle. Source: Flickr user Yoga Teacher Training & Retreats In India

I promptly ignored that email, thinking it was such a ridiculous idea. I hadn’t even worked up enough stamina to make it through 90 minutes of the primary series without sitting out a couple vinyasas, so I couldn’t imagine instructing a class full of yoga noobs (or regulars, for that matter).

The emails kept coming, maybe once a month. Deepen your practice, it said. Even if you don’t plan to teach, teacher training will bring you to a new level in your journey, it promised. Well, why the heck would I spend thousands of dollars and 200+ hours of my nights and weekends in teacher training if everything is so new to me right now? Can’t I deepen my practice at the pace that I’m at now?!?

Fast forward a few years, and I actually did consider becoming a yoga teacher. I’d been in the corporate world for almost 10 years, and I always wondered who those lucky bastards were who didn’t have to be a slave to The Man 9-5+ and COULD go to a yoga class at 10 in the morning. How nice would that be to have the flexibility to teach a class, then attend a class and sit around in my stretchy yoga pants all day?

Then, I thought about the cost and time commitment of training and whether I could make enough money from teaching (and if the GOOD article is any indication of the struggles of yoga teachers financially, I’d say the answer is a big fat no for me). The Man pays me too well to give up my day job for stretchy pants and empty classrooms.

It does seem like everyone who has been around the yoga block at least a few times has gone through teacher training, whether he or she teaches or not. So I guess that makes me an outlier. I’m this unaccredited yoga blogger who may never have “200 hour YRT” to add to my name. I’m pretty OK with that.

Maybe things will change in another 5 years. I’d have to see the business plan for how to monetize yoga teaching though. Since yoga teacher training’s trendiness is on par with Facebook, it’s going to take some convincing before I buy stock in it (sorry, Facebook!). And now that I’ve written a public Google-able blog post talking about how I’m not sure whether yoga teacher training is worth the investment (for me, that is), I’m pretty sure I’ve already scared off potential students and potential studio employers. It’s a good thing I have other career ambitions. 😉

I’ll close this post by saying I don’t think everyone is meant to be a teacher. Just like we’ve experienced in school, there are ones who are great at it/passionate/live to see their students have epiphanies… and then there are ones you can tell are there as a fall-back plan to another career. While I understand teacher training is an enticing offer by studios to make extra money, it might be a bit of an over-promise to yoga enthusiasts who don’t necessarily have the chops or the strong desire to bring others through their yoga journeys.

I think my inner cynic is showing…

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