I recently received my yoga teacher training certificate from a 200-hr hatha yoga program that I completed in San Francisco at The Yoga Loft. The program ended in February, but it took me a few months to finish up the apprenticeship because of my move to Los Angeles. We were required to begin an apprenticeship with a teacher from the faculty, which involves attending 15 of their public classes and then observing them for 10 hours. Long story short, it took me a few extra months to finish the observation but I finally did it! Now here we are, ‘diploma’ in hand and I’m really not sure what to do next. Originally there was no doubt in my mind what I was going to do – begin an Iyengar program following the end of the current training and register with the Yoga Alliance as a 200-hour certified teacher in the mean time. That way I’d be legit, right? I assumed that most studios and gyms would expect a 200-hour certification at the very least and having my Yoga Alliance registration would mean I had some legitimacy in the field. Deep down I realize that there are plenty of amazing teachers that probably have never bothered to register with Yoga Alliance and on the flip side there are probably plenty of registered teachers that aren’t qualified to teach. Nevertheless, it seemed like the right thing to do. Yoga Alliance is supposed to give me some kind of benefit, right? At least that is the impression I’m given when I go onto their website and wind through the laundry list of things I have to do to actually become registered with them. Ok, it’s not horrific, but there are a few things that have to be done: fill out an application form, photocopy the completed certificate from the training program attended, pay a $25 application fee, and then a $55 registration fee. The registration is only good for one year, so subsequently you have to renew your membership each year, for another $55. There’s another kicker, to keep in good standing with your registration you have to complete a certain number of hours of Continuing Education credits over a three-year period. 75 hours to be exact – 45 hours of teaching in a classroom setting and 30 hours of continuing education units, 10 of which have to be ‘contact’ hours. I think it’s pretty much a given that I will continue my education in yoga far beyond the hours I spend in my current program, but it’s kind of a pain to have to make sure I document them all and turn them in to the YA.
I guess my big question is IS IT WORTH IT? What do I get in return? Will I really not get hired by a studio because I can’t hand over proof of my YA registration? Seeing as how being registered with the YA means absolutely nothing to the Iyengar community and my certification as an Iyengar teacher is this whole discussion totally moot? I imagined that I would begin to teach in some kind of casual setting between now and the time I actually reach certification as an Iyengar teacher. So that being said, I thought it might be handy to have the YA back-up plan. Especially since I would most likely end up teaching at a gym or some kind of similar setting.
There is so much debate happening right now in the yoga world over the YA and what they are and are not doing for their members. As many of you have probably heard, states are beginning to target yoga studios for regulation and licensing. There is a huge debate over this subject on the web, in blogs and forums. Some are saying that the YA is completely useless and is simply an empty institution taking our money for zero returns. I’ve even read from some that the current belief is the YA might cease to exist in the coming years because of their missteps in the whole state licensing debate. Many yogis are outraged that the YA has done nothing to step up and defend studios from being bullied by state legislators that want to charge them outrageous fees to become licensed. It wasn’t until this current debate that I began to ask myself what’s the point? If the YA may not even exist in the next few years should I just save my $55 and hope that I can find places to teach that will base their decisions on something more concrete than whether or not I have that piece of paper?
I’d love to hear what others think of this and if they are having the same issue.