Thursday, September 16, 2010


Students often approach me and ask my advice about various *teacher training* programs. They are usually overwhelmed by the range of options.

Sometimes, the student does not have a strong yoga practice / does not attend classes regularly.

At that point I say,

"Why do you want to take a yoga teacher training program?"

Sometimes, it's for deeper studies.

Other times, it's because they want to teach yoga.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But there have been more inquiries ever since the Chicago Tribune published an article saying the average yoga teacher here earns over $50,000 a year. That's one of the best jokes I've ever read.

More important than money is to have a passion for it, as Lino says.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Chandra Om, one of the truest yogis I've ever met:

“Teaching yoga is not part-time, it’s not a profession, it’s not a business and it’s not logos.

“You cannot teach what you have not personally experienced. You cannot teach spiritual knowledge unless you have some yourself. You cannot straighten out another until you have straightened yourself, so you really have something to say. Teaching is information passing through you--that’s why it’s not about you, or your personality. You’re transmitting your personal environment. Once you’ve cleaned up your own self, you give up your personality and ego and who you think you are, so God can pass through you and use you, so your lower self does not get in the way.”

I would add that one should also have mastered the basic postures.


  1. I have no clue where those inflated numbers come from either. I think they go to those mega studios and get those numbers.That is the exception and not the rule.

    There used to be a time when people were picky about who they let into their teacher training programs. Not anymore. Somebody will teach that person who has only done a hand full of classes. They want the money.


  2. You hit it on the head.

    And I love your post about The Death of Yoga Teacher and The Birth of Yoga Servicer (Fast Food Yoga).

  3. Teacher trainer programs are a way many studios stay afloat. I did a 200 hour course about six years ago. For me it was about deepening the practice. The plan was to complete that & then begin 2nd series & that's exactly what I did.

    I met someone in the certification program who could not hold a catarunga.

    !!!!! She was a Bikram person :)

  4. Can I use the Chandra quote? It really says so much and applies to more than just yoga.

    It is universal.

    Ps I love coming home to your blog.


  5. Boo Boo Bear5:17 PM

    In Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary on the Yoga Sutras, he says, 'Without much prana, we can never give anything to anybody, just as only a fully-charged battery can give power, never a weak one...Teaching Yoga is not like teaching history or geometry. The teacher must impart a life force- a little current- into others. How can he do this if he himself is weak, if he has a rundown, discharged battery? So keep your batteries full of energy."

  6. Boodi- And here I thought they stayed afloat by paying teachers $5 a head, regardless of how long they've been teaching (or how many of the shala's junior teachers - who don't pay - are in the class).

    QE - I think it's best to keep it for your own personal use. I probably should even have posted it.

    BBB- I love that quote. Thank you. I think it goes along with the idea that teachers should have a regular practice. Sadly, many don't. (Or they do their asana practice while teaching a class, sweating and sputtering the entire time).

  7. Well that too... One of the junior teachers at Om told me how much she made & I almost choked.

  8. Anonymous8:41 PM

    Asteya. You attributed the quote to her, what more? How can anyone own an idea? Yes i understand the concept of intellectual property, but I think even Dharma would wish for you
    to spread good teachings. And if Chandra is truly a student of DM, I would think that which is true must be shared. Giving credit for the quote seems sufficient. There are always those before us who have taught peace, love, environmental consciousness, mindfulness, etc. If I have stolen those ideas, so be it. Let others continue to spread them.

  9. I did not ask for permission to take something she said during a teacher training and spread it all over Yoga Chicago magazine and internet. This is a form of stealing. So is eavesdropping. So is sneaking a look at someone's iPod, without permission, to find out what they played during class.

  10. Anonymous1:20 PM