So what qualifications do I have to teach Yoga?
I am a British Wheel of Yoga Diploma holder. I qualified in 2009 and have been teaching ever since! That means that I've spent a long time training to teach Yoga safely and effectively.
What does that actually mean and how much training is involved?
Before being accepted on to the training course you have to have been practising Yoga for at least 2 years (I had been practicing for 10!) and you must complete the Foundation Course which lasts around 9 months first.
Only then can you apply for the Diploma course. The Diploma course last 3 years and covers the actual techniques such as asana, breathing and relaxation but also involves continuing evidence of personal practice throughout. The course includes the study of anatomy and physiology , general teaching techniques equivalent to level 3 registered teacher status and Yoga philosophy as well. Written work and live teaching practices are continually assessed throughout . Once the course is complete you are then registered with the British Wheel of Yoga as a qualified teacher . However you are still not done! Just like other professions there is a requirement for annual evidence of Continued Professional Development (CPD) and yearly renewal of registration is dependant on completion of CPD as well as holding a current Emergency First Aid at Work certificate.
Once qualified teachers often go on to specialise and I've done further training as a Gentle Somatic Yoga Teacher and am registered as a student teacher for "Yoga for Health Backs" - a qualification based on clinical trials which evidenced the efficacy of Yoga in handling back pain. It is approved by "Arthritis UK" . I'm hoping to run a course in 2020 to complete my qualification.
Having said all of that there is no legal requirement in the UK for Yoga teachers to do any formal qualifications at all so in theory anyone can set up a class with little or no training . There are things out there like 20 hour on line courses or fitness instructor "add ons" for people who have never actually practised Yoga at all ! Would you put yourself in the hands of someone with so little experience or training? So even if you go to someone else's classes please don't be shy - ask the teacher about their background and qualifications. Anyone worth their salt will be more than happy to tell you!