200 Hours Training = Yoga Teacher?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Fr Antunes

There was a child who used to play. Escape from the entire world and all the pain. One day she stumbled into a new game with new rules, but the same play. And she learned it with strangers, old and young. Souls that took her hand and showed her things no one ever had. Loving hearts and opened minds embraced her. Overwhelmed, she found play everyday with others. From summertime sunburns to sun salutations soaked in sweat she found play forever here.

I saw this video posted by a friend and yoga teacher on Facebook and I felt torn.

Should we be granting certificates to teach yoga after only 200 hours (that’s 8.3 days!) of training?

All signs point to no, but I believe there is a lot more to be unpacked in that question.

Heard of the 10,000 hour rule? It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. That’s 416.7 full days of yoga study. Or 10 years of 1,000 hours each year, 100 hours each month (divided by 10 months–which assumes 1 day off a week x 52 weeks is almost 2 months) of 25 hours a week. 25 hours a week divided by 6 days a week is 4.2 hours a day.

Truth is I have taught yoga for eight months, and I see the lives it helps every day. How many hours do I need until I see how teaching is sometimes just by reminding people to breathe? Or a light touch on back in a resting pose. The role of yoga teacher is powerful indeed. I am nowhere near where I may end up. “Expert, master yogi.” Call it what you want. But that is okay, because I am exactly where I need to be. On a mat, speaking the only truth I know, and maybe, just maybe helping another expose their mind to the moment of now.

Currently I am finishing a 200 hour  teacher training program, led by instructors who helped me develop immensely on and off the mat. I have practiced yoga consistently for approximately 17 months. Over that time my flexibility may have changed 10% for the better. But my mind and spirit soar well beyond that. I know 200 hours is nowhere near the dedicated years of practice to know my own practice much less someone else’s, but in the face of all the negativity, flexibility, over-sexuality, and whatever else stereotypes teaching this practice, I cannot care. Throat chakra is now open in full force.

So here is what is going to happen. I am going to tell you my story of pain and help you fly. The way I was taught: strong fundamentals in pose building, meaningful sequences, how I found myself on the mat and how  I let go and play. How humbling deep breathing can be, how stretching opens pathways to untapped strength and better understanding and how much it touches me to share this moment sharing what I love with you.

I believe people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I care because this practice, this community cares for me. This same care will lead me to the (k)now. But a wise friend and yogi told me once, “it never ends, there is always somewhere to go.” I am a student forever, hopefully well beyond 10,000 hours, but today I teach by the minute.

I am JUST beginning my personal practice: on the mat. But I have played.

Tell me, is it wrong to do this? Lead and teach others even while so “young” in our personal practice?  I want to hear your story. And whatever it is, I will listen with an open mind and loving heart. And trust me I will play. Forever.


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- who has written 24 posts on Yoga Modern.

DJ Sukha (AKA: Amber Kavehkar) is the resident Yoga Modern DJ and a regular contributor on the blog and often contributes her downloadable mashups on our Facebook page Amber fell in love with the mashup of mind, body, and vinyasa flow at her very first yoga class. Already deeply immersed in the music world, she decided to pick up spinning in order to offer something new in the music and yoga scenes. Amber's favorite quote is, "When words fail, music speaks." In Sanskrit, SUKHA is often translated as “happiness," "ease" or "pleasure." In Buddhist literature, the Pali term is used to describe laic pursuits, meditative absorptions and intra-psychic phenomena. DJ Sukha creates eclectic mixes of indie, progressive, electronica, trance, world & dubstep music in order to mesh sound and movement. She collaborates with yoga teachers, event organizers, and studio owners to offer live spinning at yoga classes and events. DJ Sukha is available for regular classes, events, and fundraisers or private parties. Click here for more information on gigs, booking, and merchandise.

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