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Yoga Instructor Training and Certifications

Q&A with a Fitness Professional, Continued

Do you need a license or certification to teach yoga?

Unfortunately, a certification is not required to teach.

I do have certification. I think it gives the teacher more credibility and makes them a better teacher. I believe it is critical to learn lines of energy and anatomy related to asanas [ed. note: body poses] in order to safely guide your students.

To be certified through the Yoga Alliance a teacher must attend a certification program of 200 hours and then may pursue a 500 hour program. Material is taught by a certified teacher. The Yoga Alliance lists requirements to earn certification on their website.

What do you like about your job?

I love to see someone get excited and receive the benefits of yoga.

What do you dislike about your job?

I am very sad when someone just refuses to do yoga because it so good for you on so many levels. I also dislike how some people are turned off by yoga because they do not understand what it is. They may think it's just stretching or that it's a religion, yet they do not want to give it a try to see what it really is about.

Please describe an interesting incident you've experienced in your work.

I have a student that is 88 years old. She came to yoga because her daughter (who lives in another state) was making her. Her husband had died about eight months ago. She complained every class how it was hard and she couldn't do it. Now she smiles and does every pose. She can hold a forearm plank for 1 minute. It has been so wonderful to see her blossom.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming a yoga instructor?

I think it is critical to get certification. Search carefully for the teacher that is appropriate for you.

Go to as many continuing education courses and training sessions as you can. Read lots of books to get different perspectives and watch a lot of DVDs. Attend other teachers' classes. You will learn a lot - it may be what not to do or it may be something you will use.

The teacher needs to be a student also. Be open and non-judgmental. The philosophy of yoga is just as important as the asanas. Teaching is a gift. Don't take it for granted. Your gift could change someone's life.