By Kimaya Singh
Just two decades ago, the only option to become a certified yoga teacher was to spend thousands of dollars in an ashram to study with your guru. You may have traveled thousands of miles for this privilege and have to live in another country for years during this process.
In truth, you would live with fellow students and other yoga lovers for years. There was a full curriculum packed with the art's history, lessons on the body's physiology, etc. The countless hours spent receiving critiques from a guru with years of experience were priceless. Watching them walk through the room and not just seeing and hearing, but feeling how they interacted with all of the students was a great eperience. That was the learning aspect of yoga before the Internet - feeling your way through the movements and the interactions with others. As a student getting that in-the-moment feedback from your teacher was important because we did not have the information highway to exchange ideas, photos, videos, and Email, by broadband.
As with all things, change comes. In a world full of information and solutions, yoga teacher education could never remain in the 20th century. We have moved beyond the telegraph and exchange ideas in real time with streaming video, diagrams, and rich conversations. Your job and family obligations may not allow for working side by side with your guru for five years. Now, crucial information is just a video away. With the click of a link online or by popping a DVD in, anyone can learn how to work around contraindications or help a student with high blood pressure.
Yoga, like all things has changed because of a vast information exchange. Many yoga instructors have confirmed that in order to stay relevant in the field, they must learn and participate in continuing education and video training has now become a much less expensive alternative for teachers who need to keep their studios open, while they remain current in their training.
This is not traditional, but maybe teacher education should be looked at from a different position. Video training is the perfect solution to some common challenges in the field. Practical exams, essays, and written exams are not always a part of traditional training. In some cases, a fly on the wall could receive a diploma just by paying thousands of dollars on an exotic vacation.
My point being: You cannot play around with online education. Examinations are an accurate measurement of the learning process. On the other hand, you can sleep right through an exotic vacation, hang out with teachers and students by the beach, and go home with a diploma that states you were awake, paying attention, and actually learned something.
To this point, videos can offer major benefits to experienced and future yoga teachers alike. Watching a video allows students to learn when and where it is most convenient to them. It also offers the chance to revisit lessons as many or as few times as needed to perfect, allowing for a more solid foundation and consistency. Seasoned teachers would probably have to agree that continuing their education is always a priority and with a tool like videos, continuing education get a lot simpler.
Either way, online and video learning are here to stay and are exactly what today’s teachers ordered.
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