I have been often asked this question: If teacher training programs are producing high quantities of yoga teachers, why is it so hard to find good teachers? There are numerous root causes for this and the primary root cause is that the standards to become a yoga teacher that were set by Yoga Alliance are both ambiguous and low. Yoga Alliance only requires 30 hours of philosophy, which is the foundation of yoga, or 15 percent of a typical 200-hour program. This scale shows a visual depiction of a typical Western Teacher Training program.
What this means in the marketplace then is that the level of teacher training received by a teacher varies greatly from studio to studio. This is then further complicated by the requirements of the hiring studio. Is the hiring studio looking for a McYoga teacher (the stereotypical Yogafit instructor), or are they looking for an authentic yoga teacher who can actually define Yama/Niyama?
In addition, there is a clear differentiation between a yoga teacher and a fitness instructor with a yoga teaching certificate. In this multi-part series, we will explore how a studio can hire yoga teachers that both fit their business model (Yogafit, Authentic Yoga or combination) and how they can become a beautiful asset and part of the community.
During the hiring process, we must always remember that whatever type of teacher we seek, the teachers we interview are trained to the extent they are trained. If they come up short of studio requirements it is not their fault. Studios that are more in the mold of yoga fitness, and gyms that offer fitness yoga, are going to have a broader base of instructors to choose from than a studio seeking an authentic teacher who studied an authentic lineage.
Naturally, one of the best solutions is to only hire teachers that are trained at our own studio, but it takes time to get a teacher training program off the ground. In addition, we can always supplement their training if we like them as an individual and if they seem to be a good fit for the community. In the next article, we will examine the differences between a yoga teacher and a fitness instructor with a yoga teaching certificate, and what questions we can ask as studio owners to find the right fit for our studio’s long-term success.
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.