Perhaps the most widely recognised governing body in the game, the Yoga Alliance have announced this year their “elevated” 200 hour teacher training standards.
Many senior teachers have argued that becoming a yoga teacher is underserved by a mere 200 hours of training. Partially because, seen in the eyes of laypeople and students, a yoga teacher will unfairly be viewed commonly as an honorary doctor, psychologist, physio, entrepreneur, dietician, group facilitator, psychic, astrologer, mystic & magician.
Though here it is, a world where after 2/3 weeks of training, you’re expected to have at least an insight into all these elements of care.
In a modern world with accountability towards people’s safety generally dictated by realistic (or at least considered) safety standards for say, medical professionals and pilots; somehow yoga slipped through the net of safety and arguably, responsibility.
In thee defence of yoga alliance and other governing bodies, were learning all the time and they’re doing great work likely working very hard keeping up with the latest science and data.
And remarkably to this day, yoga is often lumped into a ‘fitness activity’ category in which the compound effects of physical exercises aren’t necessarily appreciated. Nor do many supposed qualified yoga instructors appreciate the power of repetitive overefforting or misalignment (for the individual) until all too often, things stop working and severe physical damage is done.
According to a 2017 article from Science Daily, yoga injuries were compounding increasingly by 10% a year. Personally I know from my own experience and teachers I’ve come into contact with injuries are rife and hip replacements not uncommon, which is an unfortunate state of affairs for a supposed wellness activity.
It’s the elephant in the room that many give up on exercise and yoga feeling inadequate or in some way a failure when all too often the approach was ill informed and, well basically, not yoga nor fitness.
Anyhooo, I didn’t pen this article to rant but in fact to celebrate Yoga Alliance’s exemplification of yoga in a few respects.
There’s this wonderful awakening happening don’t you know? To quote Thic Naht Hahn, (Quoting Desikachar, which I gleaned from Chris Preist on J. Brown Yoga Talks…..;
“The Future Buddha is the Sangha”
Meaning, our awakening is no longer a one-man Hollywood underdog story of a male prophet singlehandedly attaining self realisation and kindly sharing it with the underlings while he flashed his six pack.
But in fact it point to a universal awakening. That we are all an integral and vital contributor to mass awakening. And by putting it out there to the community and hosting continuing education talks such as Embodying Three Sacred Teachings of Our Tradition, Part 1 with Barrie Risman in which she opens up the discussion to the wisdom of the community (“Sangha” in Pali).
And I suppose by virtue of practicing an ancient cultural tradition, the yoga teachers show respect for the empowerment of all regardless of gender, race and even cultural background.
It also important that as an internationally recognised governing body, YA are taking great steps to honour some of our most pressing international crises insofar as me too and BLM.
There’s a fantastic series by Dr Shyam Ranganathan, the CE Workshop | Yoga Philosophy and the West: Yoga in an Age of Confronting Systemic Discrimination which is deep and involved but all self respecting teachers should do their best to study at least once.
And though I haven’t quiet got to them yet a number of courses which can be seen for free on YouTube about overcoming the challenges our collective awakening meets in light of racial and gender issues.
THOUGH it is remarkably difficult to encapsulate the essence of yoga in A theory of training alone, yoga alliance are making steps in the right direction with these enhanced standards
Scope of Practice further clarifies the role of yoga instructors in contemporary society and protecting the public who interact with a form of yoga practice.
Copied from their website they investigated some key areas
Code of Conduct, which lays the foundation for safe yoga education that is of the highest quality and integrity
Inclusion, which examines how inclusive practices can be introduced into teacher training programs
Core Curriculum, which underlies the ability to define and preserve the quality of yoga education and practice
Teacher Qualifications, which focuses on maintaining a credentialing system that results in teachers who teach the highest-quality and safest-possible yoga classes globally
Teacher Trainer Qualifications, which honours and embraces the vast and complex field of yoga teacher education that is a system of teaching passed historically from teacher to student with roots in knowledge, skills, and experience
Integrity, which influences all other areas and must be recognised and applied as a shared value by all levels of stakeholders
Online Learning, which examines how to define and preserve the quality and safety of yoga education and practice worldwide at a time when learning online is ubiquitous in today’s society
At long last I have started correlating the unique understanding I have to offer the community and running my own training including but not limited to these enhanced standards.
I want to share this journey with you and save you some time so we can all enhance the world of yoga together!
The above sheet gives another perspective on how one might arrange their own enhanced RYT 200 course if you run a RYS and aren’t sure where to start you can link up the above document and get a head start on how to ensure you’ve got all bases covered. If you’re having difficulty with google docs let me know and I will send you an excel sheet or pdf.
Some key points I’ve made on here are underlining the most evident and important issues not included in the standards which will be incorporated into my training.
If you are a 200 hour YA RYT already and wish to upgrade to 500 or 300 I will be offering these courses too later in 2021.
If you are a lead trainer on a teacher training course and only have 200 hours under your belt you will need to upgrade your training to 500 hours before the new standards take effect in 2023. The pandemic situation has bought you more time in this respect.
And hello teacher trainers and RYSs, I’m here to jump on board your training as an E-RYT500 and deliver in any of the 12 key categories!
Please note this info is true at the time of publishing and as we all know things can change at the drop of a hat so please message me to confirm details if in any doubt.