Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training: Becoming a Yoga Teacher after 40

how to become a certified vinyasa yoga instructor
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

There are so many Yoga students over 40 years of age, who desire a knowledgeable, mature, and careful Yoga teacher. Many beginner Yoga students are 40 years of age or more. In my Chair Yoga classes, many new Yoga students are over 65.

How is it possible that a veteran student with decades of experience and practice cannot see his or her self-worth, as a Yoga teacher? Where does this self-doubt originate from? Could a young Yoga teacher graduate understand the pains, aches, medical conditions, and limitations of older students?

Quite simply, a Yoga teacher training graduate over 40 years of age has the major advantage of life experience. This is not meant to take credit away from young, compassionate, and well-trained Yoga teachers; but how many of them can understand working around physical or mental injuries from experience.

Let’s make a comparison of the human body to an automobile. When you are a young driver, you really learn about auto parts the hard way: When they break down and cost you money. Your friends will also tell you about their experiences with auto maintenance. You can sit in a class and learn about auto mechanics to your heart’s content, but the lesson is not the same.

Time and experience are an education. Now, your students are not automobiles, but life’s lessons are very valuable when teaching Yoga. Your previous life experience is a treasure when working with your Yoga students.

So, what does hold some experienced Yoga students back from becoming a Yoga teacher? If you have been on this earth for a while, you have experienced more failures than someone who is decades younger. Past failures sit deep in our memory and haunt us - even when we know we should act.

This is a good time to examine your self-worth and realize how often the “skeletons in your closet” are holding you back from taking action. Youthful exuberance is an advantage, when making decisions within a given “window of time. Yet, hasty decisions can be avoided, when you research the demand for your Yoga teaching services.

If there is no demand, there is no point in becoming a Yoga teacher, but on further investigation, the demand for experienced teachers, who can teach students over 40 years of age, is quite strong. In Europe and North America, the numbers of people turning 50 years of age, at this moment, is huge.

According to some studies, every seven seconds one American becomes 50 years of age. Robin Kocina, President of Mid-America Events Expos said, "The 55-plus market is growing six times faster than the rest of the population, and is finally beginning to get the recognition it deserves."

Consider these words by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Never let fear get in the way of a rational and researched decision.

© Copyright – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications


Edward Callaghan said...

Thank you Paul. I'm turning sixty-five tomorrow and have been teaching Yoga for the past eight years. I'm not as quick or limber as I once was, but the benefits of Yoga become more and more apparent as I age, and I know my older students feel the same.
Ed Callaghan

Michelle Johnson said...

I am working towards certification and needed to hear this. I have been struggling with self-doubt as I struggle with poses...that nagging voice in my head "you are kidding me...right? You...who can't even sit in proper lotus...are going to teach yoga?!?" But I too believe that there are many individuals who would prefer an older teacher who has the benefit of patience and compassion. Thank you Paul.