I received an email a couple days ago that reminded me of a growing frustration out there.
Despite the burgeoning yoga industry, more and more folks are becoming disappointed with what they’re getting at the yoga studio. Yet at the same time, they’re having a hard time figuring out what to do about it.
The email I received, from a women named Isabella, echoed the growing sentiment not just among yoga newbies, but more among the emerging “I-wanna-be-more-than-a-yoga-newbie” crowd. In her email she said exactly what I’ve been hearing so often lately:
“I was of the thought that ‘teacher training’ can be a means to begin to deepen a personal practice [and not just as a means to becoming a yoga teacher.]”
Mention that to any teacher who runs a yoga teacher training program (I have), and you’ll get the response that “their course is for everyone, not just those who want to be a yoga teacher.” Yet they don’t really market their programs that way… and they certainly don’t price them to fit the budget of Average Joe.
I’m not fundamentally opposed to month-long yoga training courses. I think they can be a huge step up from the drop-in yoga class culture that has pretty much taken over yoga today. But I have an enormous amount of difficulty accepting these programs as qualified training grounds for new yoga teachers.
I think, deep down inside, many of those who run these programs also know that they are not doing justice to the subject of yoga in their 200 or even 500-hour courses. Personally I would prefer, as I’m sure many of these “teacher-trainers” would as well, to see these programs referred to as “Yoga Learning Courses,” and not “Yoga Teacher Training Courses.”
But that’s not going to happen. …
The acronym TTC (Teacher Training Course) is one of the most recognizable terms in the modern yoga lingo. … and it carries with it a lot of marketing and commercial weight.
Those who run these retreats know as well as I do that if they remove the word “teacher” from the title, then they’ll be hard-pressed to get even a handful of students signing up.
Although steadily growing in numbers, yoga enthusiasts like Isabella who have a genuine interest in exploring yoga for their own personal development pale in comparison to the number of people who want to get that 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certificate with their name on it. Which leaves people like Isabella having a hard time figuring out where to go?
Until the modern yoga community starts to take its persistent gaze off of creating financial opportunities for itself, and looks a little more intently at ways to bridge the gap between the horribly insufficient “yoga class” industry and the often prohibitively expensive residential Yoga Training Programs, Isabella and those like her, for the time being at least, might very well be left in a sort of yoga limbo.
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