Is 200 hours enough time to learn how to teach yoga?
There is more interest in yoga than ever. People are uncovering the wonderful effects of movement and want more.
In the quest for further discovery, many people are taking teacher training programs simply because they want to learn about the philosophy of yoga, something that can’t be taught in an hour class at the gym. Yoga practitioners are discovering that yoga is more than just doing some deep breathing, moving their bodies in all sorts of contorted moves and chanting “Om.” Why do they feel so good? Relaxed? Focused?
Many teachers become students at a teacher training programs to improve their teaching skills. Many psychotherapists want to learn more about meditation techniques to unravel their true nature. Some people come to learn, some to teach. Many come to get a career, add to a career or advance a career.
Yoga has its roots in India some 5000 years ago. How can one incorporate in a yoga teaching training program some of the deep techniques and practices that come from a tradition of over 5,000 years in only 200 hours? How can a school teach the deep and significant vast array of knowledge both physical and spiritual in such a short time?
Yoga has traditionally been taught by teacher to student similarly to the way martial arts is taught. After the student developed a certain embodied understanding of yoga, both practice and knowledge, inner and outer, the student was then given permission to teach. Traditional schools frown at the idea that in 200 hours so many training skills could be taught. They believe that it shows lack of discrimination and such a program could only offer superficial teaching methods.
Then research started springing up all over the world showing that even simple yoga practices are effective for so many things; it gave a new perspective to yoga. In much of this research, the teachers were just new to teaching.
This research has shown that yoga has improved bone density and osteoporosis, back pain, depression, anxiety, PTSD, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, blood pressure, increased weight loss, improved relationships, self image and heath. Yoga also helps with cardiovascular conditioning, anger management and mood disorders.
New research in breast cancer and yoga has shown that after a yoga program, 94 percent of the women said their quality of life had improved, 88 percent said they felt better physically, 87 percent said they were happier, and 80 percent reported feeling less tired.
In children with mental retardation research has shown increased focus and improvement in the IQ and social adaptation parameters in the yoga group as compared to the control group. Boys with ADHD showed changes in emotional liability, restlessness and impulsive behavior.
Breathing techniques practiced in yoga have shown that overall oxygen saturation levels have dramatically improved with people with asthma and other breathing disorders. Certain yogic breathing actually improves brain function in children.
With all the new discoveries in yoga how can we continue this stream, get a good education and still keep the tradition of yoga in 200 hours?
The answer is to address the yoga system from the base, build a good foundation and then to frame the entire system, separating the segments much like a university does. By compartmentalizing the different courses, each teacher can focus on their area of expertise. With a special emphasize placed on proper body mechanics and yoga postures, any graduate student can teach postures and have the confidence to do so.
Then, after graduation, if one has a wish to flesh out other sections they resonate with, they therefore, have a good idea as to which direction suits them and where it fits into the big picture. For example, medical yoga, philosophy, devotional yoga, meditation, children’s yoga, prenatal yoga or therapeutic yoga are some of the areas one can develop expertise.
To learn more: Yoga Darshana teacher training program
Regina LoBosco is the coordinator and founder of Yoga Darshana Center in West Babylon, registered nurse, and in private practice with massage therapy, private yoga nidra meditation and postures. She has authored many articles on yoga.
Editor: Seychelles Pitton
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