DhanurasanaBy Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Have you ever been curious or skeptical about how correspondence courses, for Yoga teachers, work? Below is a question and answer session about educating Yoga instructors through distance learning. These courses are online, or correspondence programs, designed for the education of new, or established, Yoga teachers.

Q: It’s hard to believe that someone can be certified as a Yoga teacher without face-to-face contact. How does a correspondence course for Yoga instructors compensate for personal contact?

A: Technology, in the form of streaming video, via Internet and DVDs, has changed the face of education and training in every field. Correspondence courses traditionally entailed learning by reading, and maybe sending a few photos of postures, but video has made learning and testing much easier – especially when you add telephone, or Email contact.

Many graduates of correspondence courses are already certified or registered Yoga teachers, but they need Continuing Education Credits for re-certification from the registries or their original certifier. Therefore, Yoga certification organizations provide continuing education for Yoga teachers, and the world’s Yoga registries approve of non-contact continuing education units (CEUs).

Q: What kind of testing requirements do Yoga teacher graduates go through?

A: The examinations process is the same as most on-site Yoga teacher training courses. There will be written exams, but you will retain more information from essay-style written examinations. Multiple choice and true or false examinations do not require a Yoga teacher intern to do in-depth thinking and research.

There may be essays, research, and a synopsis or two. The highlight of the testing process is the practical exam video, which may be 50% of the entire grade. The video may require you to demonstrate, assist, adjust, and explain, pranayama (Yogic breathing), relaxation, asana (Yoga posture), and meditation techniques.

Depending on the practical exam requirements, there may be other techniques to demonstrate, and explain, such as: Mudras (gestures, usually performed with the hands), bandhas (locks), or something else.

Q: Is knowledge of all the aspects of classical Hatha Yoga required?

A: A well-rounded distance learning Hatha Yoga course should contain educational materials about the following aspects: Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Asanas, Modifications, Yoga philosophy, Yoga teaching methodology, Adjusting posture (asana) alignment, Chakras, Bandhas, Mudras, Yamas, Niyamas, Pranayama, Meditation and Relaxation, Working with special populations, Yoga Teaching Tips, and Yoga Teacher Ethics.

Granted, some Yoga distance learning courses have less material to learn, but the very first level 1 course should contain at least 200 hours worth of material, to set a solid foundation of knowledge. In fact, a level 1 Yoga certification course is often considered a foundational course, which opens the path toward constructive continuing education for life.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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