By Kathryn Boland
Have you reflected on the value - no, necessity - of continuing education for yourself as a yoga instructor? Do you sometimes find it hard to have the time and money for it? Even so, a certain number of continuing education hours are required to uphold yoga instructor certification - no exceptions. And we see how we need to keep studying to keep teaching in fresh and informed ways. Read on for some ways to fulfill those requirements, for formal credits and informally for yourself, that are inexpensive and accessible. Happy learning, good luck, and Shanti!
Invest in a studio membership!
While you can't quite count practicing at a studio regularly for official continuing education hours, it can be an invaluable learning tool. First off because it allows you to consistently take class with a variety of instructors - who all bring unique knowledge and teaching styles to the table. With an unlimited membership, the more you go, the better value you get! Memberships range from $80-$130 per month - not nothing, but much less as a payment at one time than many other continuing education options.
This frequency and diversity of classes allows you to adopt and adapt what works for your own teaching, and leave behind what doesn’t (as well as lead you to think critically about why). You'll also develop relationships with your teachers, who can then support you through the trials of your own teaching (while you’re also there to support them!).
Second, you can keep cultivating your practice. Like a garden, it cannot grow and flourish if not nourished. We need healthy, inspired practices in order to authentically guide our students in their own. It also allows us to have common ground with our students. What we learn about them, and how we learn to put that to use in teaching them most fruitfully, is certainly a kind of continuing education - and an important one!
Work it all out in workshops!
Almost without exception, reputable yoga studios offer workshops. Depending upon factors like materials used (e.g. workbooks, special equipment), length (typically anywhere from two hours to entire weekends), and credentials of the teacher, these range in cost from roughly $20-$200. On the lower end, you can gain invaluable new learning for less than restaurant lunch!
Another advantage of workshops is the specificity; you can immerse yourself in a particular area of practice or instruction, with a teacher who is an expert in that area (why he or she chose to offer the workshop in the particular area, most often). This is a plus especially if you find that a particular area of your knowledge is lacking or needs a refresher. Or perhaps you're really interested in a particular area, and would like to incorporate it into your teaching more and/or start building a niche there - but you need more know-how first.
A workshop can be a great kick starter in any of those cases! You might also be able to get continuing education credits for workshops. You can find that out through the event’s promotional literature, or you can also ask the workshop teacher/organizer/hosting studio official. Keep an eye out for workshops that spark your interest (promoted or on studio websites “Workshops and Events” page). Or express your interest in learning more in depth about particular areas - to officials at your studio or your favorite teachers. These can be incredibly beneficial, enlightening, and game-changing opportunities - so try not to just let them pass you by!
Explore all that's online.
There’s a massive amount of free information on yoga instruction and practice out in there the virtual world. All accessible at the click of a mouse or smartphone keypad. Not all of it is informed and well-expressed, but it's there from which to probe and gather nuggets of valuable information. Being discerning about what we read and believe is a professional skillset that, just like any other, takes practice.
While often hazy and undefined amounts of time browsing online yoga resources (checking email and social media at least a few times, anyone?) cannot officially count for continuing education credits, through that browsing you might just find opportunities for that which are accessible and affordable for you. Some of these might count for CE credits!
As a matter of fact, that is how I found out about Aura Wellness Center’s independent study certification programs. Without that, I don't know if I ever could have been able to afford (and afford taking the time away from paid work for) yoga instructor certification. You can just never know how life changing a Google search can turn out to be. Happy internet surfing, and may the learning roll on!
Kathryn Boland is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.