I feel happy that there are so many people doing yoga around the world. When I began yoga, the general population didn’t know what yoghurt was, let alone this thing called yoga. The ancient discipline has gone from fringe to mainstream in just several decades.
This phenomenon of interest in yoga is, I think, related to countless yoga teacher trainings occurring all around the globe. The more who do yoga and become impassioned about it, the greater demand there is for yoga teacher trainings. This generates more teachers, more yoga classes, more studios.
I’m saddened, though, when I hear stories about of a certain kind of factory-style yoga teacher training.
These are the ones where students get two weeks of training, or perhaps a month, and then off go with their piece of paper. The next short yoga teacher training starts up as the previous one finishes. Trainees who completed their coursework and have been assessed as competent to teach often say they feel inadequate to the job. Understandably. The programs are likely to have imparted a colossal amount of information in a short time. But there was virtually no time for the students to digest the material.
Worse, the trainees may have been left high and dry if they did their training far away from home. Training locations like Bali, Fiji, Thailand, or Spain are exotic and offer a holiday atmosphere. But it’s all-important for trainees to have established a connection with their own local yoga school. A relationship with a trusty mentor is vital. It’s unrealistic to take up the responsibilities of teaching if a trainee doesn’t have this fundamental support.
Some who complete teacher trainings will begin their teaching straightaway but many of these won’t have enough confidence. They may put off teaching or decide they are unsuited to the profession. Or, they feel a need to do another teacher training, a different one, a better one. This may help. But they’ve already made a big financial outlay in their original training, not to mention the time and energy they’ve invested.
Why fast-track learning? Dedicated yogis will never stop practising and learning. Yoga is a vast subject is worthy of study in its many aspects over years. It will pay back on one’s engagement with health-giving benefits and may even confer long-life.
Year-long or even longer yoga teacher trainings, give time for trainees to pace their studies. They can embody the practices and form relationships with teachers and mentors. Perhaps the issue is that not enough value is given to the old-fashioned quality of patience.
(Says she who is still learning! and only sometimes practising patience.)