The ‘Authenticity’ of a yoga teacher

Bijay J Anand | March 4, 2017

A fellow yoga teacher kindly suggested to me today morning that I should register myself with ‘Yoga Alliance’. As per her advice, it would give me and my capability as a yoga teacher ‘credibility’ and that it would be good for ‘business’ considering all international yoga studios, festivals, corporates and ‘important clients’ would now be rest assured that I am capable of teaching yoga.

Ahem. . . .

So I, an Indian, teaching a 5000-year old Indian way of life, researched and developed by Indians in India now need to get the authenticity of my teaching verified by an American company that learnt the spelling of yoga roughly around 40-50 years ago and is now making billions of dollars every year by ‘authenticating’ the veracity of every yoga teacher around the world worth his or her name.

I could very well understand if a revered yoga institute headed by an accomplished yogi like Pratabhi Jois or B.K.Iyengar tested me, gave me an examination and then decided my worth or lack of it to teach yoga. It baffles me that a multi-million dollar company, headed by some very clever businessmen should be accepted by the whole world as the pallbearers of authentic yoga.
All that they do anyways is give away certificates based on the 200 hours, 300 hours, or 500 hours Teachers Training Course you have attended to study your yoga. As long as THAT institute also has a Yoga Alliance certificate as a certificate of authenticity, the applicant can avail of this rubber stamp (for a big fee of course).

Agreed that seekers of good yoga teachers need to have some measure of standards or reassurance before walking into a studio but why should this mean that non – Yoga Alliance teachers are buffoons that are not worthy of being called teachers at all?

I managed to keep my composure and very calmly and politely told my friend, “First of all, I don’t teach yoga as a business. My purpose to teach is to serve humanity and to try and touch the lives of as many beautiful souls as possible before I die and to show them the path to health and bliss the way I have experienced it. Secondly, and most importantly, I am my own authenticity certificate. I infuse integrity, passion and love into my classes. I teach neither to become rich nor to become famous.”

My having or not having the precious Yoga Alliance certificate does not have any bearing upon my capability to teach, neither it dent my credibility as a teacher to my dear students who I love to death.

And to all those who’d rather not come to my class because I have not been “authenticated”..

Sat Nam

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