Lots of good discussion here expressing some of the reasons why my future teacher training program will be 300 hours and include modules that are not usually taught in a standard 200 hour training (i.e., in my area.)
$95 bought that logo.
I don’t consider my posts about the Yoga Alliance as rants, although I am sure some would consider them as such. I consider them a public yoga education. I am reporting my own experience in order to help any newbie teachers make their own informed decisions.
I gave my reasons in this post as to why I renewed my registration with Yoga Alliance. $150 later I am now officially an E-RYT 200 — “EXPERIENCED REGISTERED YOGA TEACHER.” I know, I was such a hack before YA’s official blessing. I can now conduct a 200 hour yoga teacher training after YA’s approval of my curriculum, of course. After paying the requisite fees. Of course.
I decided to upload more teaching and training hours to the YA site, so I pulled out my four inch thick folder with my teaching and training records. I was amazed to finally see it all laid out in black and white, all the time and effort I’ve put into my yoga teaching since 2004 when I first registered with YA — over 2000 hours of teaching and almost 900 hours of advanced training. I did not even count each and every three hour workshop.
I thought what the hell, I will try to upgrade to E RYT 500 – 500 because one day I might want to conduct a 500 hour training. The upgrade is another $95. Piece of cake with all my hours, right? Wrong, wrong, and WRONG. This is the email I received from YA:
“In order to upgrade to an ERYT 500, one must first meet the criteria for an RYT 500, having graduated either from a YA registered advanced 300 or complete 500 hour program (please see standards below).
A yoga teacher with a minimum of 500 hours of yoga teacher training, either:
o 500 hours from one school, or
o 200 hours plus 300 hours of advanced training from one school (training that requires participants to have a 200-Hour certification.
As you have not completed a YA registered training, but have spent many hours of in depth study with Sri Desikachar, I would recommend that you complete the “graduate of a non-registered school” application (attached) for your RYT 500 upgrade.”
Out of my 800+ hours of training, my three intensives at KYM plus private classes with Desikachar’s senior teachers total 300 hours of advanced training. Apparently the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram is NOT a registered school with YA. AS IF that would stop me from studying there.
I am sure Sri Desikachar stays up at night wondering whether the school he started to honor his father, the Source Scholar of Yoga, the Grandfather of Modern Yoga, should be registered with the Yoga Alliance. Please. Really? The YA can’t cut KYM any slack? Let them “grandfather” in as a registered school? Seriously? By the way, someone who certifies you in “Goddess Yoga” IS an approved school of the YA. Right.
Here’s the kicker: in order for me to upgrade to a 500 level teacher, the “graduate of a non-registered school” application costs $150 together with the $95 to upgrade to E RYT 500. So another $245 over and above the $150 I already paid to renew and upgrade to E RYT 200.
Oh my Goddess, I am in the wrong business. I need to be in the certification game. And can someone tell me why YA is officially a non-profit organization? I said “no thanks.” I don’t want to pay another dime to YA especially considering all that dough is a lot of rupees in India which I will need starting in January. But eventually I will have to pay it if I ever want to conduct a 500 hour level training in the future. AS IF I could not do that RIGHT NOW.
Of course I can conduct teacher trainings without being “Yoga Alliance approved” but how realistic is that? With the current mentality of yoga in OMerika, would anyone sign up for my trainings? I doubt it, because even the most staunchly anti-YA teachers (Ganga White - a must read; Lex Gillan; and my teacher in Chicago, to name a few), ALL ended up registering their schools with YA. Because that is what people look for.
So here is my question, good readers: the curriculum being equal, if you had a choice of a non-YA approved 200 hour teacher training with someone like me, with all my hours, 5 times at KYM OR with someone who is YA approved but does not have the hours of training and teaching experience that I have, which would you pick?
And I will say this before anyone else does: yes, I know hours of training does not automatically make one a “good” teacher, the same way inexperience does not automatically make one a “bad” teacher. There are always variables.
Yoga in OMerika. Travel at your own risk.
It’s the beginning of 2009 and I’ve pretty much decided that I will not teach in yoga studios anymore. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know why. I should never say never, things can always change, but as of this moment it’s a better idea to run my own workshops and classes and not teach for anyone else. My yoga persona is not conducive to teaching in gyms or health clubs. I’m not saying that there aren’t good teachers in those venues, but it ain’t me, babe. I can’t teach to someone who is looking for a “work out” in yoga. I mean, I can, but I don’t want to. I can kick your yoga ass and leave you dripping with sweat if that’s what you think makes a great yoga class, but I don’t want to. It’s good to know that because knowing who you are in the yoga world saves you a lot of hassle and heartache. Advice to newbie teachers: don’t try to be someone you’re not. Teach what you know, not what you THINK you know. It’s a gift to know who you are.
With the experiences I’ve had in the last two years with studio owners, I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been teaching for 7 years. I’ve studied three times at one of the most prestigious yoga schools in the world and I am an ongoing student of three yoga masters. I’ve been a student of Buddhism for 30+ years. The next logical step for me, as it has been for other long-time teachers I know, is training yoga teachers. Maybe that’s not the next step for some of you reading this, but I have moved on from teaching group classes. I have private students and I only teach two group classes where I teach for other entities. I call the shots in the rest of my classes.
Many yoga studios in the Chicago area run their own teacher trainings. I have no idea where all these new teachers are going to teach because there are more teachers than there are students, but yoga studios keep cranking out the yoga teachers. Any yoga studio that wants to make a buck comes up with a teacher training program. Let’s be honest — the yoga bucks aren’t in teaching group classes. As I was taught in India, personal transformation for a student only begins in a group class; it is accomplished by working one-on-one with a teacher, in the traditional way. At a yoga conference workshop I heard a show-biz yogini say (and I’ve learned better than to name names anymore in this blog) that she’d rather teach to the two students who get it than to the 10 who don’t. I feel the same way. Her statement was honest and real.
For the last six months I’ve been going back and forth about doing my own teacher training. Frankly I think my training would be unique because it would include Buddhism. Not one training in my area includes that subject. Nor does any teacher training include yin yoga. I’ve studied with the two American yin yoga masters for the last 5 years.
But first I have to get it on with the Yoga Alliance. Yee-ha. I’d love to know what the Yoga Alliance does for yoga teachers other than take their money, but this culture being what it is, everyone looks for that seal of approval to study with. Five years ago I registered at the 200 level and I now have enough hours to be an “E-500″ level, that is, an “experienced” yoga teacher. I never wanted to play the game of getting a higher registration, the mere thought of filling out their form gave me hives, but now that I’m thinking of training teachers it’s almost a requirement, future students look for it.
I emailed the YA and asked whether I could apply for E-500 instead of being a plain ol’ 500 hour level yoga teacher. The answer was no, I have to be a 500 hour first, for FOUR YEARS (WTF?!?), before I can apply for E-500. I totaled all my teaching hours since 2004 and according to their own rules, I’m already E-500. As far as I’m concerned, this is just a scam to get more of my money. And for what? The Yoga Alliance does nothing for me. As they say in Texas, that ol’ dog won’t hunt.
So what’s the big deal about being registered with Yoga Alliance in order to train teachers? Unfortunately, for the sole reason that people think Yoga Alliance registration really means something. It’s all about marketing, nothing more, nothing less.
The master teacher I trained with 7 years ago was not, at that time, registered with the Yoga Alliance, but he trained with Pattabhi Jois twice and at an Iyengar institute and lived with his guru for almost 10 years. When I trained with him he didn’t care about being anointed by the Yoga Alliance. As ridiculous as it was he was not an “approved” school when I registered with YA. But over the years he grandfathered into the Yoga Alliance registration — only because people think it really means something. My teacher Ramaswami who studied with Krishnamacharya for 30 years has recently become Yoga Alliance registered — as if someone would not study with him because he wasn’t.
One year from now I’ll be living in an ashram in India studying yoga therapy under the personal guidance of a a swami, after which I will receive a yoga diploma certified by the Indian government. I really think that trumps anything the Yoga Alliance can give me.
I will look to training yoga teachers in the near future. But not in America. In India. I can do a 200 hour training, 8 hours a day, in 5 weeks. People study astanga in Mysore, Iyengar in Pune, viniyoga in Chennai, and travel to Rishikesh all the time to study yoga in general. British ex-pats run yoga teacher training programs in Goa. Why should I not teach yoga and yoga teachers in my beloved Tamil Nadu, India? I’ve been told that with my India experience I should do “sacred temple tours.” That would be a perfect thing to do after a teacher training — a temple puja blessing the new teachers.
I must finish some of my own training first because then I will be fully seasoned. A good cook knows when the seasoning is just right and a smart vintner knows when the wine is aged to perfection ready to be uncorked.
My time has come. The events of the last few years have certainly been in tune with what my vedic and western astrologers have said, both have been right on. So I’m putting it out there and I’ll go with the flow. Buddhism teaches me to detach from the outcome, not to cling but to let go — if it happens it happens. I’m giving it up to something that is greater outside myself.
If you want to study with me, tell me your interest. Just because you take a teacher training doesn’t mean you must teach. Many yogi practitioners take teacher trainings only for the deeper knowledge. I already teach workshops, so doing a teacher training is merely taking it a step further.