"How Yoga Alliance is Ruining Yoga" - Are The

January 31, 2014
Katherine Austin Wooley


Recently an article has been going around the Internet, specifically the yoga community, on the trouble with Yoga Alliance.  They are the organization that runs yoga teacher training certification. Some have voiced that they are not doing their job properly and are at fault for the "state" of yoga these days.

First of all, let's CELEBRATE that so many ARE practicing yoga! Thank God! More souls walking this earth with fewer internal wounds is great for our society.

Now let's hope that more move into BEING yoga so there are fewer external wounds. The poses are not the yoga but the technology that get us to the yoga; the yoga is actually the merger with something bigger.

I agree there are a lot of yoga injuries.  I see them come into my studio looking for healing everyday.

I'm not so sure we can place all the blame on Yoga Alliance.

There's always a bigger picture……Let's take a look.

I started my RYS (registered yoga school) in 2002.  At that time, YA had different requirements to become a certified yoga school than they do today.  But even then, it took me about a year to pass their stringent application.  Back and forth we went until I had all the bases covered the way they wanted.  They were picky, and I was glad. If it were easy to become a yoga teacher, then we would have even more injuries than we see today.

Fast forward several years.  They changed their requirements, and we were all required to start over and resubmit a whole new program.  That took a lot of time and effort, so much that I had to hire an assistant to make sure I completed it properly.  And yet, I was glad the program was getting even more thorough.

Then many states, including my home of Michigan, started requiring licensing of yoga schools.  Ok that's a whole other controversy.  MANY studios complained because it costs a lot of money to be licensed, but in the end I was glad they made me dot my "i's" and cross my "t's" and create a detailed program catalog with rules and regulations to protect me and my students. Requirements and licensing raised my program to a higher level of authenticity.

The article that's circulating now focuses on the fact that program directors are responsible for creating the "content" of their training and many aren't experienced enough to be doing that.  I can see both sides.

Do some have more training and knowledge?  Yes, of course.  But yoga is a path of evolution and every teacher shares what they own, where they are consciously.  Most only offer a 200-hour "foundational" program if they are newer to yoga.  Those programs aren't meant to be an advanced study -hence the word foundational.  Their program will be ok and reflect where they are and will attract the right students who are at that vibration, too.

In my experience of more than 20 years in the business and being a studio owner for the past 10, I've found when the student or teacher wants more, they are naturally led (divinely guided and presented) to the next layer of study with a teacher whose consciousness is at a deeper place.  We are "brought" to the next layer(s) we are supposed to learn.

And that is transmitted into their teacher trainings.  My TT has changed and evolved so much since I started because I've grown and evolved so much. That's how it works.

If teachers are attracted to teaching yoga, 9 times out of 10 they are meant to be healers.  They are seekers and will naturally grow, learn and continue to study as their consciousness guides them further on.

Yoga is the path of awakening.  You can't change that.  It takes you higher and higher in divine wisdom and knowledge.  As Pattahbi Jois said, "Do your practice, all is coming."

It's not smart to be teaching yoga as a hard-body workout. It's not safe, and it totally conveys the wrong message.

Even if YA wrote the entire program, though, they have no control over how a teacher ultimately "interprets" the teachings and methodology. Again, that is the byproduct of each person's conscious state.

Some teachers may not resonate with a lot of talking and instruction.  Too much chatter can pull the student out of what they're doing: trying to go within.

Teachers should have a solid knowledge of alignment to safely guide students in and out of poses and correct where needed for safety.  But every class doesn't need to be a workshop on alignment.

Still, students are their own best teachers and OUR job is to teach them to listen to that subtle voice within. Teach them to honor and love themselves, know their limits and most of all TRUST that they do in fact know best.  If it doesn't feel right, it isn't. That's what I want my students to learn and take with them out of the studio and off the mat.

When they give over their power to the teacher, the yoga stops and they disconnect from their higher Self.  I couldn't possibly know all there is to know about yoga; we are all students, first and foremost. I CAN share what I've learned and know to be true from my best teacher: me and my own personal experiences.

A good teacher teaches students to reconnect to their intuitive, divine Self within, not to just be an arm-balance star.

The BEST way to be a great teacher is to have a daily sadhana where we reveal, heal, resolve and evolve. No stellar curriculum can teach you what comes through daily yoga and meditation. Reading and studying can only take you so far. The best teachers live what they teach.

Most importantly, we yoga teachers must realize that we aren't doing the teaching; we are the channel for teachings to come through. We play the music, but God teaches the classes. You can write all the curriculum you want but if you are missing that one most important piece you've missed the navasana (boat).

To all the yoga teachers out there, thank you for wanting to help heal the world.

Keep going, growing and glowing.

We need you now more than ever.





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