Yoga Teacher Certification or Registration – Part 1

Lately, there has been a lot of confusion as to what credentials are needed to teach מורת יוגה. There have been some recent changes within the certifying bodies who train Yoga teachers. Here are some of the most common questions and answers in regard to Yoga credentials and regulations.

Why should a Yoga teacher be certified? What about established Yoga teachers who don’t have a diploma? What is the “right” Yoga credential to have? When should I become a Registered Yoga teacher? Who regulates Yoga?

In many parts of the world Yoga teacher credentialing is a new phenomenon. Yoga teachers had very small groups of loyal students and Yoga was not a mainstream activity. This same lack of credentialing still occurs within Tai Chi and some of the Chinese martial arts. The belief among some traditional Yogis has been that credentials would lead to commercialization.

As Yoga became more popular the need for certification became clear. Yoga teachers should be certified for their own protection. With liability law suits being so popular these days, it would be prudent to have a Yoga teacher’s diploma on your wall. Yoga is not considered to be as dangerous as some of the other activities in health clubs, but some Yoga classes can be surprisingly vigorous, to say the least.

With Yoga classes reaching every corner of the earth, some students are jumping off the couch and going straight into the nearest Yoga class, without asking questions. This is one very good reason why Yoga teachers should have a questionnaire for new Yoga students. A questionnaire will inform you of health conditions, ailments, history, fitness level, and if a Yoga student is pregnant.

This sudden popularity of Yoga also creates a less formal relationship between the student and his or her Yoga teacher. Yoga may be seen as something to do in order to lose a little weight before swim suit season. Many new students of Yoga are “just trying it out.” The incentive may be a doctor referral, a magazine article, or a news segment on television.

Yoga teaching credentials make acquiring liability insurance much easier. Depending upon the activities within a studio, the liability insurance policy chosen could be for Yoga only or a sports liability policy similar to what a health club would carry. So the short answer to the question,” Why should a Yoga teacher be certified?” It’s all about liability and don’t leave yourself uninsured. Yoga is a relatively safe pursuit, but you should still cover yourself.

Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher.

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