Source: Web exclusive: September 2010
If you’re already an avid yoga participant, it might have crossed your mind to share your passion for yoga by becoming a yoga instructor. Moving to the front of the class as the teacher is rewarding, but it requires planning and time commitment. Consider the following three steps on how to become a yoga teacher’and whether teacher training is the right move for you.
1. Know your yoga style
As a yoga student, you might attend various types of yoga classes, so your first step is to figure out your preferred style of practice, says Wade Imre Morissette, a yoga expert in Vancouver, B.C., who has led yoga teacher training across Canada and internationally.
For example, are you more drawn to vigorous, movement-oriented classes, or a practice based on relaxation and meditation? "What you enjoy most is what you should be teaching," says Morissette.
That’s not to say that becoming a yoga teacher means you’ll be getting paid to do yoga, as some aspiring instructors might hope. "Teaching yoga doesn’t mean you’re practising it at the same time," says Morissette, author of Transformative Yoga: Five Keys to Unlocking Inner Bliss. In class, your focus should be on educating and mentoring students, which means you must reserve time outside of class for your personal practice.
2. Commit to yoga instructor certification
To get certified, carve out time for studying the art and science of teaching yoga. While there are some weekend training courses, Morissette says most yoga centres look for teachers who undergo more intensive schooling, such as certifications that provide at least 200 hours of education and practicum work, usually over the course of many weeks or months.
To find a yoga teacher training course that meets industry standards, ask around for programs with good word-of-mouth endorsements and check the Yoga Alliance website for their list of recognized yoga schools. Many provinces also have their own regional associations (searchable through Google) to help point you in the right direction.
3. Start teaching
When it’s time to lead your own classes, arrange for insurance (your certification teacher can help you find insurance providers for yoga teachers), then apply for teaching positions at community centres and gyms. Morissette says these locations are often easier for new yoga teachers to break into compared to more competitive yoga studios.
Finally, as part of your job, prepare to stay on top of ongoing education in yoga, anatomy and teaching techniques. "Don’t just take the certification course and assume you’re done," says Morissette. "Teaching yoga is a lifelong process of learning and gaining experience."
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