It Only Starts With The Certificate
When I decided to begin teaching more than the Bikram 26&2 yoga sequence, I knew I'd have to work hard to learn as much about various types of yoga and their differing approaches, new postures, modifications, and so on, as I possibly could, so I decided to dive right in and get my hands on as much information as possible. I bought some books, read through numerous articles in yoga journals and studies in scientific papers, watched dozens of YouTube videos and skimmed various yoga blogs and websites. I made a ton of notes and filled a binder in no time. I spent hours every day reading and researching, and would then apply the things I'd learned to my own programming and teachings, refining my processes as I went. I also completed two online yoga courses this year, and I will be attending the International Yoga Festival in March of 2017. I have looked into other yoga certification programs, but at this time, it makes more sense for me to continue with self-directed learning and the occasional workshop or event, and if I'd like to dive deeper into one area more specifically with the experts in the field at some point, I'll make that decision when the time comes.
Not having much money is no longer a barrier to learning; there is so much information available online, I believe you can learn just about anything you want if you're determined and committed enough. One of the most valuable things I've gained from my yoga practice is my improved discipline and dedication to the things in my life I know to be important. I teach yoga as a career, and I practice alongside my clients while also verbally queuing them through postures and movements. This is a relatively high physical requirement (I currently teach 2-4 classes per day), so it's imperative that I keep my body healthy and strong; I eat a mostly vegan diet, drink a lot of water, sleep 8 hours nightly, and try my best not to get sick! But this also requires me to know my material inside and out so that the practice flows as it should. I have to dedicate time to continued learning in my field so that I can feel confident in my ability to offer my clients the highest quality instruction possible, so they always feel they're getting the best value for their money. Having taught at many different yoga studios and now at my local gym, two of the most common concerns I've heard from studio owners and yoga students is that they aren't learning enough new material, or that the teacher's posture ques aren't clear enough. I've also taken a few classes where some poses are being called by the wrong names or taught with improper form and direction. We all have room for improvement, and I'm certainly nowhere near perfect as a yoga teacher, but I think that we have a certain obligation as instructions to ensure we're providing accurate information, and also that we're teaching it to the best of our ability.
As someone who started her own yoga practice (and teaching career) in a lineage that focuses exclusively on 26 Hatha yoga asanas in the same sequence every time, I certainly understand the value of focusing your energy on a single point with full commitment, and I try to take this approach when I'm teaching myself new postures, transitions, or sequences to incorporate in my classes. I've learned the hard way that you can definitely fall flat when trying out something totally new in the middle of a class, and I prefer to reduce those awkward moments as much as possible by working things out on my own before presenting them to my students as lessons.
Regardless of the style of yoga you teach, I think there is always something new to be learned, and we all have more room to grow as both teachers and students. There are so many great yoga books, websites and blogs out there with tons of information for teachers. Even social media has a wealth of knowledge, if you look in the right places!
Read more for some of my favorite books, yoga websites and videos, and social media yoga accounts that offer high quality information in easy to digest forms. Happy learning, yogis!
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