Mind Body Messenger April 2011

Hello Friends,

I was recently in discussion with a group of yoga teachers when one teacher mentioned an article that she had read that suggested that yoga injuries were on the rise in Australia, and that the fault lay with both an overabundance of yoga teachers and the inexperience of many of these teachers.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I’m not suggesting that the article was invalid, in fact I’m grateful that it has prompted a discussion.  I am doing research now for our next Messenger so I can report to you on whether there is, in fact, a rise in yoga injuries, and what we can do to prevent them.  For now though, I’ll wade in and share my thoughts on whether or not there are too many teachers in Australia…or Canada…or the US…or the world….

In the past 5 years I have had the great pleasure to support over 100 students graduating from my foundation level teacher training program and I am not only delighted to see each graduate find their own voice as a yoga teacher, but I am also proud to have made a contribution to the world in this way.  I regularly hear from our grads about how yoga has transformed their lives and the lives of the students that they share with; from overcoming injuries to managing depression to helping someone cultivate community in a new city, yoga has so many benefits for those who participate.  And, my opinion on the subject is that more yoga teachers means more yoga in the world, and more yoga is always a good thing.

Yoga teacher training graduates do not just go on to teach classes in studios or gyms or halls in their communities, they also teach yoga through their speech, actions, parenting, friendships, community activities, and all their interactions with the people, animals, and land that they encounter.  If there are a great number of yoga teachers in Australia, to me that means that there are a greater number of people that are making an effort to be more conscious, compassionate, peaceful, loving and contributing members of our community.  So, is there a problem here?  I haven’t heard any complaints lately that there are too many accountants in the world, or too many manicurists, or too many dog groomers, so I wonder why it would occur to anyone to suggest that there even could be too many yoga teachers, let alone that there are too many. Is this an ‘I was here first’ issue?

What do you think?

Mind Body Messenger May 2011:

Last month I asked the question, ‘could there be too many yoga teachers?’ and for the past month I have been overwhelmed by the response from teachers and students alike who have responded with a resounded ‘No Way!’  In fact, I got so many responses that I don’t have the room to share them.  But, here are some highlights:

You wrote me back and told me about how yoga students need yoga teachers to develop and sustain a practice.  You told me that yoga teachers need yoga teachers to inspire continued practice and teaching. You told me that communities needed yoga teachers to live yogic lives, run yogic businesses, take part in community events, parent, guide, support, nurture, and use the teachings of yoga as a form of social activism.   And I heard from many yoga teachers who expressed that they are themselves supporting and encouraging their own students to undertake yoga teacher training to develop their practice and become teachers themselves.  The generosity of spirit that you have all demonstrated is humbling to say the least.

I particularly liked hearing from you how yoga has impacted your life and the lives of those around you, and to hear how the collective voices of all of your teachers from your 1st to your 101st teacher helps to sustain your practice on the mat and in everyday life.  I can still remember the voice of my first teacher who introduced me to the practice and teachings – she is carried in my heart and I know that I (among many others) am carried in hers.   So friends, I repeat my mantra from last month – and I know now from your responses that many of you join me – there can’t be too much love, too much compassion, too much sharing, or too much Yoga in the world.

So, let’s carry on friends, and thank you again for all your responses, reflections, and support.

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