By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Many students, who aspire to be Yoga teachers, are left confused as to the purpose and difference between certification and registration of Yoga teachers. Let’s take a look at both processes and some of the differences between them.

The purpose of the Yoga teacher certification process is to make sure that instructors have an excellent working knowledge of all Yogic aspects and safety issues. There is much ground to cover in the process; and many styles emphasize different aspects.

It should also be noted that anyone can teach Yoga without certification or registration, but these processes reinforce a professional standard among teachers. To the best of my knowledge, “Yoga police” do not exist. However, students are put at ease when their instructor has a teaching credential.

On the national and International levels, Yoga is a self-regulated practice. Many certifying bodies work toward a standard of excellence in teacher knowledge, ethics, and student safety.

Liability insurance companies look favorably upon policy holders who have credentials in the field in which they provide services, and Yoga is no exception. There is a perception that a credentialed policy holder is professional, mature, and the odds of claims are reduced. Liability insurance companies are in business for a reason, so they must have hard facts and statistics to reflect their actions.

Certification among Yoga teachers is a reflection that a successful graduate can teach at the level specified on the credential. Certification alone, will open better than 90% of the teaching opportunities that exist. Some programs produce continuing education certificates for pre-existing teachers.

There is a difference between a continuing education certificate and a Yoga instructor’s diploma. The diploma will open many teaching opportunities. However, introductory and continuing education courses do not award graduates a diploma for Yoga teachers.

A Yoga teacher’s diploma is usually awarded after a minimum of 200 training and study hours. Although teachers tend to train and study for life, 200 hours has become a minimum international standard among schools and registries.

Registries, such as Yoga Alliance, British Wheel of Yoga, and The Yoga Register, accept certified Yoga teachers as applicants. However, each organization has different standards. The registration process is usually expensive, but registration is often viewed as a higher credential in comparison to a certified Yoga teacher’s diploma.

If you have decided to become a Yoga teacher, you should weigh up your options, and find the course, which best suits your needs.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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