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April 27, 2015
Classically, the practice of Yoga is a path to oneness with God. The term "God" may be understood and/or interpreted in a variety of cultural ways. Some individuals may consider the divine energy to be feminine and of Goddess origin, while other practitioners may connect to the spiritual realm as Allah, Jesus or any number of Hindu or Buddhist deities. Ultimately, the term that we use to refer to this numinous energy is not what is important, what is important is utilizing the practice of Yoga to cleanse and heal yourself on every level of your being, so that you may enter the divine chamber of your own heart, and then guide your students to their own inner depths.
In this way, teaching your students Yoga poses, pranayama exercises and meditation techniques, in order to enter into a deeper connection with their respective understanding of God, will be founded on your own life experience. Before beginning an instructor training program, it is advisable to become familiar with the philosophy that underlies the physical practices of Yoga. If you are spiritually drawn to the mystical side of Yoga, becoming intimately connected with the inner workings of the awakened Kundalini energy as she moves up and pierces the seven chakras will give you an experiential foundation in the profound effect of the synergy of these practices.
If you are not so spiritually inclined, but find the practices of Yoga to be an enjoyable and effective way to keep your body strong and your mind peaceful, choosing an instructor training program that emphasizes these aspects of the practice may be more to your liking. There are also instructor training programs that are geared for working with special populations, such as nursing home residents, head injury survivors and teenagers in juvenile detention centers. All of these populations of students provide a different set of challenges and rewards to you as a Yoga teacher.
The term "Yoga" actually translates into union or yoking oneself to the divine energy that underlies all of creation. This divine energy is not necessarily Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim. It transcends all of these spiritual belief systems. If you are considering becoming an instructor, clarifying your own spiritual beliefs and experiences about God/Goddess energy will inform you on how to present the practice to your future students. In some cases, it may be more fitting to offer Yoga instruction without a spiritual context if you are primarily teaching in secular venues such as health clubs, public schools or community centers. The healing, cleansing and uplifting aspects of a regular practice of asanas and breathing exercises will still nourish your students, even without a spiritual context.
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