The discipline of Yoga originated in India and the general notion is that it dates back to pre-Vedic times. The immense popularity of this practice across the globe has resulted in the need for capable yoga instructors to teach students across various age groups. If you wish to pursue a career as a yoga teacher, a certified teacher training program will help you to acquire the necessary skills. Though not mandatory, a certificate will give you a definite advantage over your competitors when it comes to securing a job.
In India, there are scores of yoga schools, offering courses in traditional and modern forms of yoga. This article will take you through the steps you need to follow to find a suitable yoga teacher training course in a yoga tradition of your choice.
Types of Yoga Traditions
Over the years and more so in the West, yoga has come to be looked at as a practice to attain physical fitness. But this ancient Indian discipline is deeply rooted in spirituality, its ultimate goal being to enable one to attain Moksha or liberation. In contemporary times, the most important benefit that one can get through this is the attainment of mind-body balance.
The practice of yoga can help one to experience a lot of positive changes in life. There are various traditions in yoga practice. To become a yoga teacher, you first need to know about them. Reading up is a good place to start your research which is necessary to make an informed decision.
This is the most common form of yoga that teaches how to attain the mind-body balance through physical postures and breathing techniques. The word Hatha is a Sanskrit word meaning force. Training in Hatha yoga teaches one to channelize the energy and force the body to attain the yogic state through Asana, Pranayama or breathing exercise, Mudra or hand gesture, and Dhyana or mediation.
This yoga technique is fully focused on the practice of asanas. If you take a course on this form of yoga, you will be taught to attain correct yoga postures with the use of props like belts, blocks, balls, etc. The technique is focused on achieving precision in body alignment. Also, in this style of yoga, Asanas have to be practiced in a proper sequence. In every practice, the sequence has to be maintained.
In this style of yoga, students are expected to learn a sequence of asanas and practice them in the same order. This style of yoga emphasizes the correct posture of Asana, Pranayama or breathing, and gaze or Drishti.
Also known as Flow yoga, in this form of yoga, one Asana is connected to the next through the breath. While getting in and out of postures, mindful inhalation and exhalation are practiced. The movements all through are needed to be graceful. Unlike Ashtanga yoga, the asanas are not always sequentially performed and allow creativity and flexibility in style.
If you’re looking for more of a spiritual connection, however, you might want to consider exploring Kundalini Yoga. This form of yoga combines sequences of movements (known as Kriyas), with breathing techniques, meditation, and chanting.
This method helps you to awaken the Kundalini, the spiritual energy believed to reside at the base of your spine. Don’t look at this purely as physical exercise; this type of yoga aims to connect you to your consciousness and help you unleash your true potential.
Benefits of Taking Yoga Teacher Training Course
There are many ways to learn yoga. You can train under an instructor or learn from pre-recorded video tutorials available online. You can even start teaching others once you are confident about your abilities. But if you wish to take this up as a profession, a yoga teacher training course is a must for you.
You can choose to enroll in either:
- A well-known yoga school or ashram whose certificate is recognized in India
- An institute registered with Yoga Alliance and/or Indian Yoga Association(IYA)
In an instructor training course, you will have both theoretical and practical classes. The learning experience will be more holistic. Classroom hours will be devoted to the study and practice of yoga and related subjects. When you enroll in a teacher training course, you can expect:
- Guidance from highly experienced instructors in Asana techniques
- Training in meditation, Bandhas, Kriyas
- Assistance in attaining perfect postures
- Understanding the benefits and purpose of each Asana
- Guidance to evolve spiritually
- Teaching methodologies
- Classes in anatomy, physiology, philosophy
These training courses vary in duration, ranging from 200-hour to 300-hour and finally 500-hour. Under the guidance of trained instructors in a teacher training course, you will be able to go deeper into practice and build a strong foundation of knowledge. With sustained effort and dedication, you can advance from one level to the other and finally become an expert trainer yourself.
Best Centers for Yoga Certification
There are many well-known schools that offer certification for yoga teachers. Here are a few popular ones:
- Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Bihar: Swami Satyananda, the disciple of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, is the founder of this school. It is popular among those seeking yoga teaching courses for its well-rounded approach to yoga practice.
- Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, KYM, Chennai: KYM is considered one of the pioneers of therapeutic yoga. Traditional yoga courses are also taught here. The small campus in Chennai through which it operates is very focussed on imparting quality teacher training programs and retains a traditional environment within its premises.
- Kailvalyadhama Health & Yoga Research Centre, Lonavla: This 180-acre campus with a lush green landscape is a much sought after center for aspiring yoga teachers. Kaivalyadhama’s approach is to blend modern science with traditional yoga. The center is also known for engaging in researches on yoga. It offers a wide range of courses of varying duration. These range from 6-week classes to 3 year-long undergraduate degree programs.
- Sivananda Ashram, Neyyar dam, Kerala: The beautiful location of the ashram sets the mood right for yoga practices. The curriculum for the yoga teacher training course will not only prepare you to teach yoga asana and meditation but also help you to evolve spiritually. Sivananda ashrams are spread across multiple locations in the country and abroad.
- The Yoga Institute, Mumbai: This 100 years old institution is one of the most reputed yoga schools in the country. Located in Santa Cruz, it has stood the test of time. It's a popular destination for those seeking a teacher training course as well as anyone who wants to experience a transformative change through yoga.
- BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute, Pune: This center is run by Sri Iyengar’s family in Pune. It is best known for its detailed physical approach, intensive training through the use of light-weight props. Light of Yoga, written by BKS, is one of the most recognized Asana books in the yoga world.
- S-VYASA, Bangalore: Theis university is research-oriented. Their goal is to make yoga a socially relevant science. S-VYASA offers a wide range of programs. You can opt for a one-month certified training program, or a graduate or postgraduate degree in yoga and also pursue Ph.D.
Apart from these schools, many centers across India offer yoga teacher training courses and are either registered with Yoga Alliance or the Indian Yoga Association. You can look up the websites of these two bodies to locate a registered center that offers a yoga certification course near you. You can also simply search online using the keywords 'yoga certification course near me' and you will be surprised with the results. Be rest assured that you will not have to venture out too far from home to find a suitable training course if you don't want to.
It's Time to Select Your Yoga Certification Course
Now more than ever before, due to the pandemic, people have realized the importance of healthy living, where the well-being of the mind is as important as the body. Making yoga a part of one’s lifestyle can act as a catalyst of change, and bring about an overall transformation. If you wish to take up yoga teaching as a career, this is the best time to set sail.
While a lot of schools require candidates with a minimum of 3 months of practice in yoga before enrolling for a teacher training course, it is not mandatory. Most programs are comprehensive with classes covering training in yoga as well as teaching methodologies.
There are also schools that allow you to take a step-by-step approach. Here you can start off with a beginner's program to learn yoga, then follow up with advanced-level programs to get deeper into practice, and finally round off your education with a teacher training program.
The yoga teacher training program will help to build a comprehensive knowledge base. In such a class, you will be learning and practicing with others who like you are on the path of becoming yoga instructors. You can receive support from co-learners and teachers, which will keep you focused and motivated.
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the normal way of life, a lot of these schools now offer online classes. This provides a safe way to start your training. Once you begin your course, make each day count. Stay open to learning to make the most of what the training course has to offer.