Yoga Certification (continued)
Where is Yoga Heading? As usual, those who speak the loudest and those who gain the most recognition are usually those who know the least. Even the Bhagavad Gita cautions us that in Kali Yuga, our present age, great orators are often mistaken for the wise.
Yoga is not immune to this phenomenon and a tragedy continues to unfold as the mouthpieces of yoga today, those who have made great names for themselves, those who are playing the credibility game to a “T” continue to sell yoga short – by a long shot.
Evermore voices are being raised, however, over the concern that yoga has been trivialized and reduced from its lofty perch as the most comprehensive science for personal growth and evolution to a superficial system of practices that continues to be reshaped and restyled into new and often ridiculous things by enterprising, but sadly uneducated yoga enthusiasts.
New-age yoga may play well for a short time in the marketplace, but it can’t last forever. If yoga continues to lack any real substance in the way it is being taught or presented, then eventually the masses will tire of it and move on to something new and more enticing, as I alluded to in an article a few months ago, entitle “Yoga: is it the new aerobics?”
Lord Shiva Said:
“Those who are instructed by a knower of Truth, they become knowers of Truth… Those who are instructed by beasts are known to become beasts themselves.”
Yet yoga can and should have a bright future. The potential that it possesses to guide society forward in increasingly stressful and uncertain times is immense. All the good intentions of so many yoga advocates can find firmer roots if we all start looking deeper into this wondrous science with greater awareness and respect for what it is really all about.
No other credible profession would sanction teachers who do not have advanced knowledge and experience in their field. Why should yoga? If we want society to hold yoga in high esteem and view it as the respectable science that it deserves to be seen as, then we must promote teachers, our educators and ambassadors, who reflect that image.
The influence of those would-be yoga regulators upon the yoga industry is enormous, and their recognition of the current short-comings of their established regulatory models is paramount to this transformation happening. As yoga teachers, we cannot let ourselves be guided by market-driven forces into building the foundation of our profession upon shifting sand; into following a model of regulation and accreditation that doesn’t yield a professional body with adequate knowledge and experience to do yoga justice.
The bar for acceptable yoga education and experience needs to be raised and a new model for recognition of yoga qualifications established; one that honours the tradition of yoga and recognizes the vastness of this field of study; and one that reflects what it really takes to gain proper understanding of and competence in yoga.
A yoga teacher, at the very least, must have knowledge of yoga that extends well beyond the physical practices and techniques. They must have the ability to speak of every aspect of life from a yogic perspective, and the ability to stretch their mind beyond the conditionings of family, society and culture. They must be models of integrity and honourable living, and demonstrate in each and every moment of each and every day what it means to live a yogic life.
If “being” continues to be compromised in favour of the need to “seem,” then the flame of yoga will soon be extinguished. Our duty as practitioners is to insist on the establishment and maintenance of a proper level of yoga cred, one with standards that are worthy of this most profound science of life, and one that will withstand the test of time and the whims and fancies of an ever-changing marketplace.