New yoga teachers today are facing their own set of challenges. I spoke to Sunshine Ross, founder of Awake Space "Sixteen years ago when i started, the challenge was to inform people about yoga. It was still very new then to go to a yoga class. Some people may have heard of it but have no idea what goes on in a yoga class. They might also have ideas like yoga teachers are flighty, flakey, wierd and hippie."
The international organization of yoga schools and teachers, Yoga Alliance, has done many things over the years to advocate for the yoga teacher in the fitness and wellness sector. They have made many improvements in the standard curriculum for yoga teacher training programs across the globe to provide a baseline for credentialing yoga schools and yoga teachers. The hope is that yoga teachers will be seen as knowledgeable, trusted and professional.
What are the challenges for new yoga teachers in 2022 and beyond?
In the most recent Yoga Alliance survey it was revealed that there are 2 yoga teachers in training for every one current teacher. There are more yoga teachers around but there is also a lot more interest. In the past, yoga teachers were struggling to inform people about what yoga is but popular culture and media has caught on, more people know about yoga and are engaged and interested. There are various yoga styles to choose from.
Social media presents its own challenges for new teachers. "The young yoga teacher is learning to navigate social media. It's hard not to compare yourself to others who are posting these beautiful photos but beautiful poses is not what yoga is all about." Sunshine adds. "Social media also creates this illusion that yoga is only for flexible people which turns away a lot of potential students who can really benefit from yoga. A lot of the yoga photos you see on instagram are not even yoga poses, they were just invented for the photo." Final words from Sunshine? "Staying present within the storm of media, that must be the new yoga challenge". We smile and head over to the next yoga class.