I recently read an article by Canadian Yoga Teacher, Dianne Bruni. In it, she expressed the opinion that, despite their stated goal certification by the Yoga Alliance does absolutely nothing to ensure that teachers are well trained or that students are learning yoga.” The article stirred up a wave of conflicting emotion in me.
When I ask myself why, I believe it’s because I have conflicting thoughts on the subject. On the one hand, many yoga students and teachers have been convinced that this certification is necessary and beneficial in helping the public to evaluate services in what remains an unregulated industry. Yoga Alliance appears to promote itself as a consumer advocate organization; that’s a good thing, right? On the other hand, I share Ms. Bruni’s opinion because she makes a good case that Yoga Alliance does not monitor studios or even verify that standards have been met. Registration might be considered a form of advertising more than anything else. My resistance to Yoga Alliance is also colored by my own lengthy, yet unsuccessful attempt to register a yoga school with them. So, I have to face the possibility that I hold some resentment to that organization.
Now for me, this is where the practice of yoga really begins: I have recognized the potential value of registration; and I have also recognized arguments against it and my own resistance to that organization. The conflict between these thoughts (remember, they are just thoughts) has created a feeling of uneasiness or restriction that leaves me questioning what I wish to do, leading to indecision. This is a type of energy blockage that yoga teaches us how to address. With asana and pranayama, I can prepare my mind for meditation. Meditation allows me to come to a place where conflicting thoughts are slowed down and quieted. In this place of stillness I am free to recognize what is really important – how yoga makes me feel. The value of yoga is in: understanding how the mind works; how it affects one’s emotions and behaviors; the knowledge of how to change undesirable thoughts and feelings; and the ability to achieve some level of contentment, if not happiness. Any yoga teacher or teacher training program that can communicate and deliver this knowledge is providing a most valuable service regardless being certified or listed on a registry.
Credits: Dianne Brui, Body Braid Yoga (http://bodybraidyoga.com/articles/).
1 “Our goal is to ensure schools provide adequate training to yoga teachers, enabling them to teach safely and competently” (https://www.yogaalliance.org/Credentialing).