Certification and The Horror
August 18, 2012 Leave a comment
I like reading what former Anusara Yoga top teacher Christina Sell has to say about yoga, the teaching of yoga and her own journey in life.
Some of what she talks about I find very challenging especially when it comes to talking about the practice of yoga and that’s a good thing as it gets me thinking about my own practice and life.
Anyway today she’s talking about yoga teachers and the concept of certification and it’s worth reading.
When it comes to certification whether it’s for yoga teachers, coaches or anyone else for that matter I align myself with Groucho Marx who said: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”
Oh I can hear the whine now about how will you know if your yoga teacher, coach, naturopathic doctor or medical doctor for that matter is any good?
That’s easy. I check them out. I ask questions. I take a lesson or book a session.
I couldn’t care less if they’re board certified which IMHO often means they could afford the training and certification fees and nothing more.
In the men’s program, the best facilitators were laymen who worked from their heart. Sure they made mistakes but none of us were substituting our own ability to think for theirs and that made all the difference.
Yoga teachers are like the tomatoes in my garden this summer. First there’s a ton of them. Some are green and some are red. Some are tasty and some are tart. Remember men, we’re talking tomatoes here. They tend to clump together and sooner or later fall off the vine.
But all of them, tomatoes and yoga teachers, tend to be new. A yoga teacher with more than a couple of years of experience these days is a rarity.
And just because after a 200-hour training course where they are taught how to spend an hour with you talking about opening your heart and letting go of stuff doesn’t mean their own personal life is worth living.
I’ve had yoga teachers who clearly showed signs of early depression, anti-social behaviour and serious anger issues which leaked out into the yoga studio. And, so what?
We’re asking these 20 and 30 olds to guide yoga sessions not teach philosophy (although some I suspect think this is part of the deal but come on honey, I’ve got bruises older than you are so don’t be telling me to let go of the stuff that’s bothering me. What’s bothering me right now is your insistence on talking through my mediation – peace – peace – om – om – I will not kill today – om – om. And in fact if some of them could hear my true thoughts they’d run screaming from the room in horror. (Read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness for a small insight into the souls of men or for you time-challenged yogis watch Apocalypse Now and you’ll get my point.)
If I enjoyed our session together I’ll come back. If I didn’t, I’ll go elsewhere.
Okay so what’s the deal with certification?
It’s a way to protect the innocent and perhaps the stupid from themselves.
When I was recovering from open heart surgery (and trust me I checked out the surgeon at least as thoroughly as I researched my last car purchase) I told my cardiologist that if she couldn’t grasp the concept that I was the case manager and she was the well-trained and expensive consultant I’d get another doctor. That sat her upright and she immediately agreed and I’ve loved and trusted her ever since.
One of the very best yoga teachers I’ve ever practiced with had no certification and belonged to no school. He had studied extensively in India and was IMHO an amazing teacher and an amazing man of whom I believe we will hear more from in the future.
Having said that I wouldn’t want him especially to be my friend and I never asked to see his certificate.