In our last segment, we explored the high level of availability of yoga teachers and instructors and compared that to the quality of their education. This leads us to what type of person are we hiring for our studio? Do we need an actual yoga teacher or do we need a fitness instructor who can lead a yoga sequence of asanas? And how do we tell the difference?
The answer to the first question lies in what type of studio or gym that we operate. If we are a Yogafit studio that focuses on cardio-vascular asana practices (think Power Vinyasa) then we don’t need a yoga instructor. In this case a fitness instructor with a simple 200-hour yoga certification will suffice. But what if we are an authentic yoga studio reaching for more than just the westernized, monetized Yogafit? Then we need a real yoga instructor and finding one can be difficult.
A real yoga instructor will be someone who has chosen not only to train in the authentic practice of yoga but they will have made a transformation in their personal life to “living yoga” or yoga as a way of life. After all, we cannot teach what we don’t practice or live. Yoga as a way of life is well beyond taking a class once or twice a week. It is what the person does off the mat that is important.
At Ripple Yoga, we do our best to only hire yoga teachers and that requires not only how one chooses to live their life, but also the proper training. In interviews, we always start with how the prospective teacher practices Yama and Niyama in their life and if they understand those concepts and the concept of yoga as a way of conscious evolution. We then move to understanding the entire eight limbs as a philosophy for living and from that starting point we can begin to differentiate between an instructor and a teacher of yoga.
Sarvesh Naagari is the owner of Ripple Yoga in Seattle, Washington, and author of the inspirational novel of the spirit, 20,000 Oms and a Cup of Chai. He has accumulated approximately 2,500 hours of teacher training including a six-month stay at the Ananda Ashram at ICYER in Pondicherry, India where he studied the Yoga teachings of Maharishi Patanjali and Swamiji Gitananda Giri, the Lion of Pondicherry. He also has an MBA in Executive Management from the Washington State University and a Bachelor’s of Science, Corporate Finance and Accounting from the University of Maryland. Prior to opening Ripple Yoga, Naagari was a corporate executive for 20 years in technology and innovation. He is also a regular contributor to the Seattle Yoga News and the ClassPass blog. In his spare time, Naagari is an avid musician, singer, hockey player and volleyball enthusiast.