yoga training and yoga teacher educationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

There are so many styles of Yoga that it can be confusing to anyone, who is taking the first step of beginning the practice. Not long ago, the only way to learn Yoga was through the student and teacher relationship. There are ancient writings and books, but Yoga, in all of its forms, was usually carried by the teacher to the student.

In the 21st century, you have many new choices for discovering wisdom, which took thousands of years to gather. Thanks to electricity, the computer age, and new technology, many of us can learn the answers to the mysteries of life in minutes. Will this make the art of teaching obsolete? Never!

Here is why the art of teaching will never be replaced by technology: People love the personal interaction with friends, mentors, Gurus, and Yoga teachers. The Internet can produce a huge amount of information in minutes, but we often read, hear, or see differing opinions, which seem to have equal weight. If one has a competent teacher, he or she may be able to present a focused view of differing opinions.


If you visit a web site that states, “High blood pressure is always the fault of the patient.” Who is the author? What hard data is this opinion based upon? Upon further investigation, you discover that the author of the article has no knowledge or education in medical science. It is barely acceptable to make such claims after a study has been performed, but some opinions are not based on research, testing, or studies.

In Hatha Yoga, there seems to be two basic schools of thought. One is that the student should fit the requirements of the style or the requirements that a teacher has designed as a basic requirement. One good example of this would be to require every student to perform Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) without the use of a prop, such as blocks, stools, or chairs.

The only problem with this approach is that a student will eventually show up to class, who has limited range of motion for a variety of reasons. These reasons could be the age of the student, trauma, skeletal limitations, or a neurological disorder – such as, Frederick’s Ataxia. In such cases, the teacher has limited knowledge and discourages a student from attending his or her classes.

The opposing viewpoint is seen in therapeutic Yoga classes, where the style can be modified to suit the needs of every student, who manages to come through your doors. This requires Yoga teachers to embrace continuing education. When Hatha Yoga is therapeutic, it meets the needs of everyone.

There comes a point in life when we begin to realize that we are mere mortals. No matter how strong, tough, or arrogant, we think we are – one illness or automobile accident can suddenly change our lives. For any Yoga teacher to become the best he or she can be, we must continue to evolve with compassion as our guide.

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