Yoga has become much more physical than when it originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Therefore, it is a very different practice than it used to be. As yoga continues to grow in popularity, it is important to make sure your instructor is certified. This is true even though most states do not have regulations over who can be a yoga teacher, because while Yoga offers many health benefits, if you do not do the poses correctly, you could end up hurting yourself. This is especially true as more people with health concerns turn to yoga for relief from their suffering from such ailments as high blood pressure and heart disease.
The same way you would not trust your body to a doctor who has not been to medical school, you should not trust your body to a yoga instructor who has not had the proper training. While there are no universal agencies that provide examinations or certifications for yoga teachers the same way there are for group fitness instructors and personal trainers, there are industry standards that need to be met before yoga certification can be obtained.
Yoga teacher training programs vary considerably from one place to another and different styles of yoga have their own certification criteria. However, most require those who sign up to complete a minimum of 200 hours of training. The next level of training is an additional 300 hours of training.
There are also continuing education requirements that instructors need to fulfill in order to maintain their status and are a sign of a quality instructor. This is because good instructors continually work to increase their education. This can be done through reading, attending workshops, additional teacher training courses, and attending yoga classes taught by other yoga instructors. Yoga is a process and in order to continue to grow, one must continue to learn. This is true whether you are a teacher, student, or both. Additionally, yoga is a continuous practice. Therefore, the more you learn, the more there is to learn. Therefore, it is important that your teacher continues to study and learn while you learn from them.
However, bear in mind that just because someone is certified does not make them a good instructor. Moreover, just because someone is not certified does not make them a bad instructor. In order to ensure that you are in good hands, you need to ask questions. Enquire into his or her training, experience, and personal philosophies.
Always listen to your intuition. Just as not every instructor is not right for every student, not every yoga position is right for every person. Moreover, your body knows, and if you pay attention to your body, it will tell you when you are headed for an injury. When you stop listening to your body, injuries happen. A certified instructor can help you with this. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your instructor is not certified, it is possible that he or she might not have insurance if you are injured in a class.