Embarking upon yoga teacher training in the UK isn’t an easy option. It’s not just something you can do in a few months to add another string to your bow, it is a huge commitment of both time and lifestyle. It can be up to 2.5 years of arduous training, essay writing and anatomy tests usually combined, for most of us, with a full time job because that’s the only way we can afford to pay the £2,500 that the training certification costs! On top of that you have to have been practicing, with an accredited teacher, for at least two years and it is preferred if you have done the twelve month Foundation Course first.
There is a reason for all this – yoga teaching certification is overseen by the governing body of yoga in the UK, The British Wheel of Yoga (BWY). And this brings us nicely onto the thorny subject of regularising yoga certification.
In the UK we have governing bodies for pretty much everything. It’s not as bad as you’d think really. While I’m not going to pretend that the BWY is faultless (believe me, it isn’t), it does exactly what it says on the box. It oversees all yoga certifications within the UK. This means that if your yoga teacher’s certification is with the BWY or one of its affiliates then her training is up to a certain standard and has taken her at least two years to achieve.
That is not to say that there are not very many fantastic and capable teachers who have not trained with the BWY, but it just means that one cannot set oneself up as a Yoga Instructor in the UK without sufficient qualifications. After all would you want to be seen by a doctor who had only spent a few weeks at medical school? No, thought not. So why put your body in the hands of somebody who doesn’t know the deep physical, mental and emotional journey that yoga can put a body through?
I’m an impatient person. If I could have done my yoga teacher training in nine months or six months I would have done (although perhaps not in the two to four days promised by one organisation that will remain nameless). But in hindsight I’m glad it took me so long. I’m glad I had to dedicate such a huge part of my life for over three years to it. The British Wheel isn’t very glamorous. It’s more about dusty church halls than exotic beaches and pine-floored studios. But it is a one-stop shop in health and safety and other legalities that are essential to know when you set up on your own as a self-employed yoga teacher as I did.
My yoga teacher training was fantastic not because of the syllabus, or the teachers (although both were brilliant) but because of the sheer length of time it took me to achieve. (Lisa here- 560 hours minimum required from what I can gather from their website) In those three years I changed a lot. I truly began to understand my body and the bodies of others and the timeframe allowed me to assimilate fully all that I learned - far more so than I would have been able to if I had taken in that amount of information in six months.
The fact that our certification is regularised by a governing body has never limited us as teachers here on our little island. We continue to teach in our own ways and from our own hearts but safe in the knowledge that we are adequately trained and adequately insured at all times. And that is something that we deserve both as teachers and students.
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Find more information on the British Wheel of Yoga on their website.
Aims of the British Wheel of Yoga
To encourage and help all persons to a greater knowledge and understanding of all aspects of Yoga and its practice by provision of study, education and training
To maintain and improve the standard of teaching of yoga
To co-operate with and support other organisations having similar aims
Article and photo Copyright of Rachel at SurburbanYogini.com