By Sanjeev Patel
What are the benefits of yoga teacher continuing education? After a yoga instructor begins his or her teaching practice, there is a risk that the new teacher can become complacent. There was a time when people had one specific job and didn’t have to learn anything new. They didn’t have to read, listen to the radio, or watch television either. During the Industrial Revolution, all you had to do was produce items faster every year, be quiet, and do your job. Those were the days when the company gave you a gold watch after 50 years of service and put you out to pasture. No worries, no new skills, and no continuing education for you!
Wake up! It’s the 21st century now and you have the ability to expand your education and mind with a smart phone, but my eyes are getting tired so I invested in a tablet. Back to yoga teacher continuing education – One may teach flows with similar postures, music and enthusiasm, but we can learn more. One of the most beautiful things about the practice of yoga is that it is always just practice. There is always more to learn, even for seasoned yoga teachers. You might think instructors want to learn more than the basics, but you would be surprised how often teachers with experience want to go back to the fundamentals and learn more. Here are the top five benefits of continuing education for yoga teachers based upon feedback from instructors in the field.
Mastering New Postures
Even though yoga is a practice that is thousands of years old, new postures are constantly being invented, and variations on old postures are being refined. Ever heard of Purvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose? This pose was developed as a counter pose to Chaturanga. Yoga teachers who attend festivals, courses and read trade journals and magazines will hear of these advancements, but teachers who do not will not learn of these new poses or any safety precautions related to them.
Some asanas and methods exist in a number of schools, but they just don’t gain a lot of popularity. Maybe Purvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose is not as flashy as Wild Thing Pose, but it exists and is useful as a valuable counterpose. Nevertheless, yoga teacher continuing education has the honor of being the vehicle that makes information accessible worldwide. Today, a yoga instructor in Antarctica does not have to travel to London for an Iyengar teacher’s workshop. The only reason for avoiding education is because we choose to do so.
Refining Old Postures
Teachers who attend workshops that focus on the alignment of a particular pose can both refine their personal practice and their teaching skills. In addition to learning how to move their bodies in new ways, teachers will learn fresh verbal cues and physical adjustments. They may discover contraindications for poses as well as new benefits.
Advances in Injury Prevention
Many students attend yoga classes to prevent injuries in other sports. Runners, skiers and bicyclists are just a few examples of folks who practice yoga to maintain flexibility and prevent injury. Researchers are constantly discovering new ways of moving the body that prevent injury. Various yoga postures are often recommended to maintain and expand flexibility. Yoga teachers who attend continuing education events focused on injury prevention can expand their practices to incorporate these new techniques.
Learning Contraindications for Various Conditions and Injuries
In the same vein, yoga teacher continuing education classes are available to understand the contraindications for various conditions and injuries. Some postures can be helpful in healing the body, while others can be harmful. We want to safely teach classes, when participation is growing and classes are growing in-person and online.
Yoga teacher continuing education programs produce graduates with a good understanding of anatomy become better and safer instructors. When a teacher understands how the femur is cradled inside of the pelvis, she can provide more valuable instruction to her students. Most certified instructors have taken a few hours of anatomy, but expanding the study of the human body will provide benefits to every teacher. The human body is fascinating. Like snowflakes, not one body seems to be made the same as another. However, yoga teachers with a working knowledge of human anatomy will be more effective than those without.
Although many yoga teacher continuing education courses are concerned with postures, there is much more to yoga than asana practice. Now, try to explain this to your students with less than three years experience. Very few new students appreciate pranayama, meditation or mantra practice. Unless a teacher has a large following of experienced students, the deeper aspects of yoga are barely touched in a regular class. That said, you can still learn and teach specialties, such as: Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness Meditation, Chair Yoga workshops, and more, while keeping your mind stimulated with new knowledge. Ultimately, we keep our students interested in the deeper aspects of yoga as er continue to enjoy new ideas and methods for the rest of our lives.
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