By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

The roles and responsibilities of being a competent, and effective, yoga instructor are up to the individual. Teachers should obtain sufficient training and education in yogic philosophy, anatomy, asanas, and pranayama. Reach a competent level in your own practice before taking the step to instruct others.

A strict set of guidelines, for the certification of yoga instructors, has yet to be established in the United States. The implications of this situation are many. What it means, essentially, is that each yoga instructor has a responsibility, that is, the obligation to conduct themselves in a way that represents the yoga community in a positive light. The other responsibility is to safely, and effectively, teach yoga students the correct and healthy way to practice yoga.

Yoga certification guidelines are in place so that instructors don’t unwittingly produce injuries to their students. Instruction must be executed with the a sufficient amount of knowledge and personal practice. Hatha yoga instructors must deeply understand the fundamentals of posture and alignment.

Teachers must know how to build, and modify, a pose for a less flexible or beginner student. An instructor also needs to be able to quickly spot incorrect postures. This is so their students do not injure themselves or exacerbate pre-existing conditions, which they already have.

Instructors must be able to accurately verbalize a pose to students in a way that they can understand. In the same way, communication must be clear in the correction of common mistakes. Often, beginners of yoga practice are not as familiar with their bodies, as someone who has been practicing for years. For this reason, you must be able to notice incorrectly executed techniques, then clearly and gently correct them.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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