The way we know yoga today has evolved a lot during the last decades. Of course, the core principles and philosophy have remained the same. But many aspects of yoga that we study in modern times, such as physiology and anatomy, were not so easily accessible just a decade ago. A lot of research has been done, and many new understandings of the science of yoga have emerged.
Yoga has always been about ‘’continuous learning.” And as the world’s understanding of yoga keeps on evolving, it only becomes all the more necessary for us to upgrade our practice and knowledge regularly.
Becoming a yoga teacher is a noble decision, but it requires hard work. Yoga teachers not only have to bring the right knowledge to students, but they also have to help them evolve as people. For such reasons, yoga teacher training courses involve a lot more than doing asana practice or getting a certification.
The qualities required of a yoga teacher will vary from place to place. But a good school will always advise upcoming teachers to keep working on their teaching skills and knowledge by regularly following continuing education courses for yoga teachers.
Usually, people start with the 200-hour foundational yoga teacher training course. And after that, they continue to educate themselves with advanced or shorter specialization courses. But some people prefer to start with the short specialization courses like the 50-hour Yoga Nidra Teacher Training. Subsequently, they progress to advanced programs, such as the 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training. It depends on how much you want to learn and how you wish to pursue your yoga continuing education.
Read more: What’s the difference between 50-, 100- and 200-hour yoga teacher certification courses?
What is Continuing Education?
Continuing education is a post-secondary, formal learning program for adults that can have credit courses as well as non-credit courses. These courses are meant to let a person expand their knowledge and grow their skills in a specific field. Many professions even require members to take up CE to be able to renew their license and pursue their practice.
What is CEU in Yoga Teacher Training?
A continuing education in yoga mainly serves 2 purposes:
- To deepen your existing knowledge and skills
- To teach you new skills and techniques related to teaching yoga.
As credible teachers, your classes need to be safe, easy-to-relate, and well-informed. And this can only happen when your own learning is rooted in a good foundation.
Continuing education units (CEUs) are add-on courses that you can take up after completing your preliminary yoga teacher training. These courses are designed to match a person’s ability and area of interest.
5 Reasons Why Continued Education for Yoga Teachers is Essential
Are the lessons getting repetitive? Do the students seem bored? Is there something that got left out during a practice? It’s natural for such questions to arise when you start teaching yoga.
A good teacher’s success is determined not just by expertise but also by the willingness to learn. Having the knowledge and knowing how to apply that knowledge to help others learn are two very different things. This is a key difference between knowledge and skill. Of course, one gets better with time and practice. But it is important to make a regular assessment and look into the role and what it requires of you. This will help you see your strengths, and identify the areas that you need to work on.
When you take up a continued education for yoga teachers, it helps you take an honest look at yourself. It provides you a basis for considering the best practices related to teaching and how to apply them in your own practice. And that’s why continued education becomes essential for more than one reason.
You get better at what you do
As someone committed to bringing the best to learners, a yoga teacher has to be consistent in his/her teaching. It has to be at par with the latest standards, and there is very little room for errors.
A great way to pick up new skills and learn how to train students in a holistic way is to enroll in a yoga continuing education course. These programs make you more competent as a yoga teacher. Moreover, they deepen your relation with yoga and inspire you to continue your efforts of self-mastery.
A yoga continuing education is also a great way to meet and interact with new people. You can learn and share your experiences with peers and mentors while staying informed on all the latest news.
It is a ‘must-have’ in many places
Organizations like Yoga Alliance make continuing education for yoga teachers mandatory for registered members. This is in addition to the teaching hours one has already completed.
The initial yoga TTC is meant to introduce a person to the basic skills of teaching. With a continuing education yoga class, you take the next step in your career. As such, it is a must if you have to:
- maintain a Yoga Alliance registration,
- get hired by a well-established school, or
- start your own yoga training school or CEU program.
More areas to explore, more teachers to meet
Yoga is a broad topic, and in recent times there has been a lot of development within the subject. Some people research on yoga and mental health, or yoga’s benefits in healing trauma. While there are others who are trying to understand the potential ways in which yoga therapy can be used for helping the terminally ill. As you dig deeper into the topic, you will get to know more about the ways in which people are working with yoga.
By signing up for continuing education yoga courses, you find more areas to explore including the business aspect of teaching. Plus, when you meet and interact with other practitioners, you find the guidance to step away from limiting views. In the long run, these courses and interactions become vital in helping you adopt the best approach when working with your students.
It equips you with the right skill-set
As a teacher, you’ll have to treat all your students with discipline and love. But the challenges you face on a daily basis may seem overwhelming at times. And in such moments, there is a strong chance of doubting yourself or feeling discouraged.
Many continuing education yoga classes focus on these key areas of teaching. They provide you the tools and directives to help you shift your focus from the problem to the solution. Moreover, you will hear about the real-life experiences of your peers and trainers. This will give you more clarity about your own experiences, and you can renew your vision with more vigour.
Makes your learning more holistic
Often in the initial phases of teaching one tends to be too critical about oneself. This can be due to various reasons. You may be unsure of how to guide a student, or you may miss out on a student’s mistake etc. Teaching yoga can be an overwhelming experience, but we only get better with time.
Continuing education for yoga teachers reminds us that teaching is a humbling experience, and that we all have something unique to offer. It fuels your passion and shows you the more nuanced aspects of teaching. Moreover, it motivates you to trust and appreciate yourself as a learner and as a teacher. As you start ticking off those hours in your continued education program, you will notice the differences yourself.
What to Watch Out for When Choosing a Yoga Continuing Education Course?
There are a wide variety of yoga continuing education courses available nowadays. When you choose a continued education course, bear in mind the scope of your own learning. Does the course interest you? Are the prices suitable for you? Are you looking for a Yoga Alliance recognized course? These are all relevant questions that can help you decide which yoga continuing education course will be best for you.
Further, it helps to be a little mindful when choosing an online course. While most courses are well-designed and offered by experienced teachers, it’s good to watch out for scams and online frauds. It may sound strange but online scams related to yoga are unfortunately not very uncommon.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the things to watch out for when choosing an online yoga teacher training course.
- Read up about the school and teachers. Check their website and social media pages to see how active and passionate they are about what they do. See if they have organized any prior workshop or trainings, and whether there are reviews shared by previous students. If possible, try and find articles and reviews written by them as well.
- Always communicate directly with the concerned people. Even if you find an online school through a third party, you’re still advised to have some sort of direct communication with the actual school/teacher. This will help you get an impression on how they answer any questions that you may have. Moreover, never share any sensitive personal information without getting a full confirmation of the person or place’s authenticity.
- Make sure that the curriculum is detailed and there’s a proper manual available. Check how the topics are divided throughout all the required hours.
Tips for Choosing an Online Yoga Continuing Education Course
With so many options, it can be a little difficult to know how to choose an online yoga continuing education course. Here are a few points that you can consider when choosing an online yoga teacher training course.
Assess and mark your requirements.
The co-ordinator or mentor will guide you with your questions, but you still need to assess your needs. Is there some area that you need to work on more? Are you ready for an intensive level training like a 300-hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training or do you want a less intensive course? It completely depends on you.
Consider what you wish to learn and how this will help you in the long run. Think about the students you have worked with, and what their needs have been about. Look into the possible ways how the course can help you integrate all of these and any other learning objectives that you may have.
Know the details of the course.
It’s important for you to have all the relevant details about the course you will be pursuing. Simply browsing through different sites will not provide you with enough information. Most of the programs listed online have a brief description and it can be a little confusing at times.
Here are a few things that will be of help in this context:
- What provision is there to take care of the contact hours requirement? In the absence of in-person trainings, online courses are supposed to offer some form of direct interaction between the teacher and student.
- How will a student’s competency be assessed? Practical assignments, tests, and quizzes are meant to be a part of all online yoga training courses.
- What are the facilities for community interaction? All online courses are required to offer some form of live, community interactions between students and teachers.
- How responsive are the teachers? A proper yoga teacher training should provide enough scope for teacher-student interaction. The teacher should be available to speak or answer your queries during an ongoing session.
Check the policies and guidelines.
A proper yoga school will have its own policies and guidelines. These are meant to help students know about the provisions the school has for important matters or any unforeseen event. These guidelines can be about refund in case of a cancellation, or say a medical emergency. By knowing these policies you will be able to make more well-informed decisions.
There is some form of learning happening with all of us at all times. We simply need to pay a little attention, and we will see that is the most natural thing in life. One of the primary goals of yoga is to make us realize this.
As a practice, yoga takes us on a lifelong journey of learning. It teaches us that with constant effort, willingness and patience, all things are possible. So, if you’re a yoga teacher or you’re in the process of becoming one, we would like to tell you that just keep the faith, and continue your efforts. It may seem difficult and impossible initially, but with time and practice you will be able to get it done. And always remember –
“… Constant practice alone is the secret of success.”
Hatha Yoga Pradapika
About the Author
Ram is the Founding Director of the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams India and The Netherlands. Since 2009, the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams have become renowned internationally for their professional yoga teacher training courses, and have up to present trained over 6000 yoga teachers from all over the world.
Born in New Delhi, India, in a traditional and spiritual family, his yoga philosophy education started at the age of eight years as a part of his primary school education. Presently, he is the lead teacher for various teacher training programs at the ashrams as well as at the Arhanta Yoga Online Academy. You might be interested in his Yoga Alliance accredited Yin Yoga teacher training course.