By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Lately, there has been a lot of confusion as to what credentials are needed to teach Yoga. 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 teachers who don’t have a diploma? What is the “right’’ Yoga credential to have? Should I become a certified or 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. 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 classes can be surprisingly vigorous, to say the least.
With 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 teachers should have a questionnaire for new students. A questionnaire will inform you of health conditions, ailments, history, fitness level, and if a prospective student is pregnant.
This sudden popularity also creates a less formal relationship between the student and his or her teacher. Yoga may be seen as something to do in order to lose a little weight before swim suit season. Many new students 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.
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