Yoga Certification Scheme
The Yoga certification scheme by Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India is an important step to present a unified code of professionalism to, till now, the unorganized field of Yoga Teaching.
The main aim of this scheme is to evaluate and certify yoga professionals to either as Level 1 (Instructor) or Level 2 ( Teacher).
This raises an important question:
Why a standard yoga certification scheme?
Yoga is a way of life for personal growth
But there is no denying that its health benefits with the gentle approach is what makes yoga popular.
Even by practitioners who don’t fit into the profile of yogis, the health benefits of yoga is what brings them to a yoga centre.
And herein comes the most asked about queries of new students:
- What to look for in a yoga teacher?
- What makes a good yoga studio?
- How should I start practising yoga?
The problem is access and knowledge about good teachers. With the number of Yoga teacher’s training courses since last few decades, there is no effective way to evaluate any teacher. Unless you are referred by someone.
Why is a yoga teacher’s training course not sufficient?
A course can show that you are a good student. What about teaching skills?
You see, there is no issue with the course structure of a teacher training course or any other course in yoga. But, then most of these courses are conducted with teaching practice among the course students only.
Very few courses are there with real-world practical teaching as part of their course. Which means, the new teacher has little experience about the student he will actually see in his classes.
There are certain qualities of an effective yoga teacher. These are what makes a good yoga teacher. And these are not what you remember (though a clear understanding of classical concepts is required), or how good is your own practice.
In total it requires:
- Observation skills
- Communication skills
- Clarity of concepts
- Teaching skills &
- In-depth knowledge of practice you are teaching.
And then the issue of different yoga schools focusing on a certain limb of yoga more than other limbs.
Few are more focused on step by step approach, few are with an inclusive approach, few more on self-contemplation, then few on breathing practices and so on.. !
Now, most of the courses cover a good part of these characteristics and knowledge part.
The point is, sometimes it left a lot for the student to figure out, what suits them and which path to take.
And, once a teacher has completed his/her course, there is no way for yoga school to keep a watch on teaching standards and growth of the teacher.
Most of the time, if a teacher is living far from the school where he graduated from, there is no follow up workshop.
Thus, there was need of an independent, well-designed system for evaluation and regular surveillance to create and maintain standards.
So, that a general student can know that the teacher he is taking his classes from has proven himself professionally capable to teach yoga as a profession.
How is the yoga certification scheme designed?
As I just mentioned, different schools have different ways of teaching the concepts of the yoga to a new teacher. This doesn’t make any of them wrong or less than anyone else.
It just means, there needs to be a common minimum standard of professional knowledge in each teacher as a professional.
Hence, the first step of the scheme was the formation of the technical committee with representations from well-recognized schools from India as well as abroad (if they didn’t have ashram or centre in India).
Each limb of eight limbs of yoga was discussed and documented. It was sent to more schools for their feedback and input. These points and feedback were again discussed and improved upon.
You can read about it at QCI website: Yoga Certification Scheme
This led to a minimum knowledge criteria of all the limbs of yoga, which was agreeable as desired and expected knowledge for different levels of yoga professionals.
Now, with such standards, comes certain expectations which students and general practitioners of yoga can expect from their instructors and teachers.
And thus 4 (four) different levels of yoga professionals came into the picture. Read all about yoga certification scheme.
Important points of the scheme
Having a standard about any profession is not enough. The important part is execution, else the whole process can become a mockery.
Thus, after the first step of creating the standards, the next step how to ensure they are properly maintained?
The scheme has two important part in such context:
- Surveillance: Each certified yoga professional is required to undergo a surveillance exam at his place of teaching by a panel of independent examiners.
- Renewal: Each certificate is valid only for 3(three) years. After that, you are supposed to reappear for the exam, though the testing standards are more mature for renewal.
Just like any other profession, especially related to health, oversight is something that ensures that certain standards of quality are maintained.These two factors are good enough for the ensuring that mandate of the scheme is maintained.
In its current stage, the scheme is voluntary for adoption. But as per recent news articles, this may not be voluntary and may actually be made compulsory to teach. [Which is similar to how Yoga Alliance registration is a condition for teaching in many countries].
As the Govt. is pushing for yoga, different government departments have started hiring yoga instructors and teachers for conducting classes. The necessary qualification being mentioned is to be certified as Level 1 for instructor and Level 2 for the post of teacher.
Similarly, ICCR is deputing certified yoga teachers as yoga ambassadors in Indian embassies abroad with the mandate to provide the necessary push for proper growth of yoga. They are also tasked to make a major marketing push for the international yoga day (21st June).
As rightly identified in this post on Huffington Post, it will take a while before the yoga certification scheme gets a worldwide acceptance. But, it is on way.
With such soft power based push and such structure to a previously unregulated unstructured sector, big changes are bound to come.
And such moves are necessary for the overall growth of the field of yoga education. Moreover, we need more research into the health benefits of yoga practice. And this is bound to happen when the sector is regulated.
What we need now is more of professionals to come forward and get certified, and provide their input too. With a collective effort, this task will get faster adoption.
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*If you want to join a forum of certified yoga professionals or want to know more about how to clear the certification, you can visit:: https://theyogatalk.com