By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Many Yoga teacher interns have different reasons why they seek out an initial 200 hour Level 1 training course. After teaching classes for a while, some experienced teachers are looking to teach students who have much in common with them. For example: The teacher who is very fit is often looking to teach students who are athletes.

In some cases, a doula, mid-wife, nurse, or a mother may be drawn to pre-natal Yoga. Teachers with young families, and children of their own, may be seeking to teach Yoga for Kids. A Yoga teacher, who is past the point of middle age, may be looking to teach students who have something in common with him or her.

Regardless of our personal reasons, each of us chooses a different path, and sometimes, that path may be one of specialization. In our first Yoga instructor training, we may have reflected upon the fact that there is a divine plan for each of us.

There are instances when our Yogic path is based upon finding a purpose, realization of a skill set, or our personal code of ethics. In order for us to choose the correct path, we have to look within ourselves, on a personal quest, to find a more fulfilling and focused direction.

At the same time, any direction we choose should not be an obsession of self-love or self-hate. Some of us whole-heartedly value the opinions of others. This can be a good thing, if the advice we receive is based on reality. The point being – in our lifetime, we will receive advice that is not in our best interest.

With that said – some opinions you hear may be in the best interest of the person giving you the information. For one reason, or another, some people give opinions, which tend to hold others back from making progress. While this is not always the case, we should always logically measure any advice.

This is why training the mind is such an important part of Yoga. Very often, training the mind is skimmed over during a Yoga teacher training. It seems the centerpiece of many teacher intensives is asana practice. However, to have a healthy body, and not be in control of one’s mind, is self-defeating.

Once the mind is trained, we must be able to look within ourselves to determine logical courses and to find our personal path in life. Very often, we hear the words, “What is Yoga?” – Yet, many people simply answer that, “Yoga is Union.”

While this is partially true, Yoga is the application of Yogic principles for a better way of life and to practice the art of living.

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