By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Students often ask, “When does one become a Yoga teacher?” When you teach a friend, co-worker, or family member one technique, you have taken the first step toward becoming a Yoga teacher. It may not be official, but you are teaching, This is the traditional way Yogic methodology was initially taught before Hatha classes became such a magnet to the public. Large classes are not a bad thing, but it is easy to forget that Yoga was taught in small groups for centuries.
Now, let’s fast forward into the early 21st century. Today, we have access to instant information. You can learn from television, the Internet, books of all kinds, and streaming videos, Some of us still have VHS tapes, DVDs, MP3s, CDs and e-Books. It would seem that anyone who wants to become a Yoga instructor has all the tools, at hand, to pursue his or her dream of teaching.
Should you read books to become a teacher? Yes, you will have to read and much more. Yoga books and all forms of media set a foundation of teaching knowledge, but there is much more to this, in order to become a Yoga instructor. It is daily experience gained through teaching students, which causes an instructor to further evolve beyond the initial Yoga teacher certification process. Practical knowledge and experience become a treasure chest for any teacher.
Teaching Yoga methodology is a journey. If teachers sit still, without expanding their knowledge, they will become stagnant. Books about Yogic methods are great references, but teachers are works in progress, who evolve with hours of teaching, studies and personal practice. In fact, Yoga is a work in progress. Yogic techniques change as teachers make new and innovative discoveries along the way.
Hopefully, innovative instructors will record their discoveries for future generations. None of us has a life long enough to learn all that has been written over 5,000 years, but we learn everything that will help our students live a better quality life and more. Every student ailment is researched again and again.
Teachers may eventually run into a situation where the right book is not available or maybe it was never written. Always remember that books are very valuable, but they are learning tools for the beginning of the journey, and good references, to come back to, when you put Yogic principles into practice.
So, when do you know if you are ready to become a Yoga teacher? If you have been practicing for years, reading information, and showing techniques to your friends, you have already taken the first step. There is no promise that the journey to become a teacher will be easy, but it is rewarding. Yoga has much history behind it, but many new chapters are being written at this moment and many more will be written in the future. The public is always in need of competent and innovative teachers.
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