"You want people to have the best"

(Swami Satyananda)

A comment by Swami Janakananda

In the field of yoga, the one who teaches and the one who wants to be trained, have the same responsibility as anyone who wants to help people and work with them. If a would-be doctor went to a "banana republic" (wherever that might be, excuse the expression) and bought himself a quick education, then it is naturally blameworthy and irresponsible, both for the "doctor" himself and the people he will come in contact with as a healer and an adviser.

The student who wants to become a teacher must take responsibility when choosing a teacher (whatever the qualifications) who dilutes the tradition and makes the education "short and simple". The tradition is improved only by constantly returning both to its core and towards what you have learnt from your teacher. At least, this is my experience, both in relation to my teacher and in regard to the tradition from which I teach.

Beginning with an inadequate education as a yoga teacher, no matter how conceited you are or who you co-operate with, sooner or later you will run dry. Instead of throwing yourself into a liberating process together with the students, the whole thing becomes tedious, because you don't know the process and haven't acquired the insight that comes with a daily training. You have neither the courage nor the ability to go further than the limits of your own learning and insight. You believe that you have to entertain the students, or make a lot out of next to nothing, when there is nothing left to give - you have no experience of the transformation.

To bring other superficial ideas and methods into your teaching to avoid fear and emptiness, or to take a lot of money for what you do, does not make it more valuable. You cheat both yourself and others. Yoga is "any age", not New Age, for instance, even though some teachers, who teach a superficial yoga, may give that impression.

The most important thing about a proper yoga teacher training is surely not what you learn theoretically and the quantity of methods it contains, but that you receive a daily training also, where you learn the things in a practical way so that a capability is attained from where you can diagnose and see the solution to a problem. You should also have experience of associating with students. The training must include a comprehensive practical part of teaching under the supervision of an experienced teacher. Furthermore, your own Sadhana and the experience you gain from this, should be deep-reaching.

The daily life, together with the teacher that runs the education, should remove the underlying anxiety from people who help others. Also, the teacher must have a special ability and be able to guide the student towards an insight that goes beyond what is written in books and can be learnt on a few courses. The would-be yoga teachers will then confidently be able to teach and guide others, when they have completed their education - and they will be able to continue to do so when the novelty wears off.

I allow myself to doubt whether the shallow courses that are currently offered in some places, mostly in the form of a series of weekend courses, where it is claimed that the education lasts up to three and four years, have a sound background. The students are gathered together only a few hours at a time, once in a while, and if the hours of teaching are counted, then in reality the education has a total length ranging from less than a month (at an institute in Stockholm), to a maximum of three months (at an institute in Denmark). Not to mention a company in England who offer a yoga teacher education by correspondence, where you never even meet a teacher!

A full time training lasting several years is an absolute must.

Why is it so important to be a yoga teacher, if you don't become one anyway, when you get neither practical training nor sufficient theory, not to mention a lack of initiation in altered states of consciousness? You should be aware that in the long run, you are helping to ruin something very valuable with your limitations.

The responsibility lies with you. That others commit criminal acts, does not justify that you do too!

An introduction and a series of 3 extensive articles on the yoga teacher education at the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School:

Yoga Teacher Training

Part one – Full time training

Part two – A module

to Part three - Education with quality?

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