Earlier this summer, I earned the Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 certification. It was a big deal for me because that’s the highest certification a yoga teacher can earn with the USA-based organization, and I like meeting goals.
“But what does it mean to me as a yoga student?” you might ask. The answer to this question is: maybe not much.
My personality is to set goals and work to achieve them. Earning this certification means that I completed 500 hours of training with educators whose curriculum has been approved by Yoga Alliance. The “E” part means that I’m an experienced teacher. I’ve logged all my hours with Yoga Alliance. In this case, it means that I’ve taught more than 2000 hours.
Should you as a student care if your teacher is certified? Does it matter if they are certified with Yoga Alliance’s E-RYT 200 or E-RYT 500? What if the teacher is certified by the Canadian Yoga Alliance? What about the British Wheel of Yoga?
Really, it’s up to you as a student to decide if yoga teacher certification is important to you. Each of the associations have different requirements. While I cannot speak to the Canadian or the UK associations, I know that Yoga Alliance requires teachers to keep learning. As a student of yoga myself, I want my teachers to share with me new knowledge so that I can pass it on to my students. But that might not be important to you. Whether you attend classes with a certified or uncertified teacher, it is important to reflect on your experience. If you felt welcomed and safe, and if you learned new things about your body and mind, you’ve found the right teacher. Certification doesn’t matter.
After my first training, I decided to register with Yoga Alliance for various reasons. In the beginning, I didn’t feel there was much value to my membership but this changed drastically with the arrival of the f’ing virus. You know what I’m talking about.
The extraordinary staff at Yoga Alliance began offering online continuing education almost immediately after the first lockdown. In many cases, the gatherings were lifelines for those of us who had to move from teaching in-person to teaching in a virtual environment. Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned so much through these sessions. From the basics of virtual teaching to foundations of yoga traditions different from my own, to teaching for specific populations, Yoga Alliance comes to my computer nearly every week.
While the f’ing virus wreaked much havoc, it also brought to me teachers from all over the globe. I will always be grateful to those at Yoga Alliance who made this happen. Someday, I hope to be able to give back. I’ve got my YACEP certification now. And, while it might not mean much to you, my dear reader, it means to me that I can teach other teachers and share some of the knowledge I’ve gained since beginning this journey.
If you’re interested in seeing what trainings inform the classes I teach, check out My Trainings & Qualifications page.