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Yoga Training: Background

The proliferation of 200-hour yoga teacher trainings may be good for business, but is it keeping the practice safe and true to tradition?

According to 2016 estimates from Andrew Tanner, a spokesperson for Yoga Alliance (YA)—the yoga community’s primary advocacy organization and yoga school and teacher registry, as well as the creator of the most commonly used 200-hour YTT standards, “100,000-plus yogis worldwide are investing an average of $3,000 each in 200-hour YTTs a year.” (Yoga Journal)

While some students go into training simply to deepen their own practice, many expect to teach upon graduation.  

students meditating in a yoga teacher training class
Students meditating in a yoga teacher training class

Yoga Training: Duration

Yoga is a complex practice with thousands of years of history and the ability to transform lives. Yet many of today’s YTT programs suggest that after just 200 hours of training— the equivalent of 10 to 12 weekends—you’ll be able to transmit this ancient wisdom to a roomful of strangers suffering from any number of diverse issues, including knee pain, trauma, and depression, some unable to touch their toes while others twist like pretzels, all with varying levels of experience on the mat.  (Yoga Journal)

For instance, a search on marketing material from YA-registered 200-hour YTT programs turned up promises like graduates will learn pose modifications that are “safe and effective for everybody,” will learn how to “heal ourselves, our students, and the culture at large,” and will be able to “register with Yoga Alliance and teach anywhere in the world,” with “no further training required.” (Yoga  Journal)

Broad declarations like these, along with the recent proliferation of YTT programs, have fueled a growing concern among teachers with decades of experience that yoga is losing its integrity.

Students in a yoga teacher training class adjusting each ohter
Students in a yoga teacher training class adjusting each ohter

Yoga Training: Registration Facts

Today, there are more than 5,500 YA-registered yoga schools and more than 60,000 YA-registered yoga teachers. “The 200-hour standard essentially created an entire industry,” says YA’s Tanner. YTT programs generally aren’t subject to government oversight—a fact that’s become a point of contention both within and outside the yoga community. (Yoga Journal)

Our YTT program in Victoria, BC offers students more time for teaching so that they can be more comfortable in teaching during YTT or even after completing the YTT program.  200 hours may not be enough; however, experience through teaching can be helpful to grow you as a yoga teacher in future.

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