The Future of Yoga Teacher Training Programs
Despite a lagging economy, the demand for holistic health and tools like yoga to counter stress, continue to grow. Over 15 million of Americans now practice yoga, according to the Yoga Journal’s Yoga in America story.The practice has expanded from small spiritual-based communities to fitness centers and medical centers nationwide.
While the demand for holistic services will continue to increase, there is a strong need for fully trained professionals. There is a range of yoga teacher preparation among instructors: some have no training, others attend two-day seminars while others complete formal programs of 200 hours or more in techniques and lifestyle.
While there is no national certification standard or certifying bodies that administers national exams for teachers, the Yoga Alliance registers both individual teachers and teacher training programs (schools) who have complied with minimum educational standards established by the organization.
As yoga continues the move to mainstream America, some are beginning to scrutinize the standards of schools and teachers. Some states are moving towards licensing schools and teachers individually in an effort to protect consumers. The Yoga Alliance model of 200 and 500 hour training programs may be a structure that the states replicate for licensing requirements for individuals and schools.
While many take teacher training programs to enhance their own personal yoga practice, others choose to use it as a part-time and sometimes full-time career. Job opportunities fall into the three main categories–fitness, therapy and spirituality. These categories create teaching opportunities in gyms, community centers, churches, employer sites and more.
A full-time career in yoga is doable but requires a clear strategy and mix of opportunities including group classes, individual training, corporate wellness and workshops and continuing education services.
If you decide on a career in teaching it’s also good to have a niche and clear competitive advantage. Niches could include sports, special populations like pre-natal or cancer, Thai massage therapy and more.