500 hour yoga teacher training intensiveBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

When considering a Yoga teacher training program, an intern should consider the value of pre-existing training, knowledge, and experience. The fundamentals of Yoga are treasures to be enjoyed. All too often, we miss the finer points of life, by rushing through it. The following are four qualities that will help each intern throughout the training process.

1. Enjoy Your Time: Foundational training and research is a must before entering into the Yoga certification process. Learning the basics of Yoga should not be a race. Why rush? Each aspect of Yoga is like a flower. Stop and smell the flowers – one at a time.

If learning terminology becomes a pressure situation, take your time with it. You can easily spend time learning under the guidance of a competent teacher, take an introductory course, and develop a solid foundation. You should read classical texts, which explain the many facets of Yoga.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Gheranda Samhita, the Yoga Sutras, and the Shiva Samhita would be a good start. Knowing who wrote the Yoga Sutras, and what the Eight Limbs of Yoga are, is basic material teacher interns should research while building their foundational knowledge.

Interns should know that The Eight Limbs of Yoga start with Yama and Niyama. Interns should not only know them, but they should become a way of life. Moral codes, found in Yoga, are universal laws, which build character. It goes much deeper than this, but lying, cheating, and stealing are not acceptable in any society. Acts of giving, kindness, and tolerance are acceptable.

Therefore, the moral standards of Yoga are something most of us were taught before our first class. Making morality a significant part of our lifestyle is part of the process toward self-awareness. To be mindful of our actions should reduce or eliminate conflicts with others.

2. Compassion: To have respect for the limitations of each student is part of teaching. To realize that we are here to help students makes each of us a better teacher. To be kind and gentle toward the student, who has difficulty learning, holds each teacher to a higher standard of practicing what we preach.

3. Social Skills: Courtesy, good manners, and mutual respect are part of teaching. Students learn much better, by following a good example, than by domination.   Some will say these sports are brutal, but in boxing, martial arts, and other highly contact sports, the most successful teams and competitiors have coaches who are rich in social skills. In contrast, Yoga is a very gentle science of life, without combat or competition. Therefore, each Yoga teacher candidate should have excellent social skills.

4. Suppression of Ego: Among Hatha Yoga teachers, there are not many who posture their egos. The suppression of ego is a fundamental step in reaching self-realization. However, when they do show up, egotistical teachers usually fall into one of the following categories, and they tend to focus on the mastery of physical techniques only.

A. The Olympic Gold Medalist: He or she stands on one hand, while putting the legs into Lotus, and can do full splits in every direction. He or she cannot understand why other students have difficulty with performing the same feats. If this person teaches classes, the Yoga session resembles a “three ring circus,” complete with injuries for students who attempt to force their bodies into postures that might be impossible to master.

B. The Technician: In these classes, no student ever performs an asana correctly. Students feel worse about themselves, after a class, than they did before the class. If this person teaches classes, each session serves as a platform to give prominence to the teacher.

It is easier to help someone with self-esteem issues, than it is to capture the attention of an egotist. If the ego is out of balance, we have difficulty listening to suggestions. In the case of anyone who teaches Yoga classes, there is one fundamental rule concerning class structure: Class time is for students. Therefore, it is best to focus on the needs of the students and for each of us to leave our egos behind.

© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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