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Do you know what the world doesn’t need right now? More RYT200 yoga teachers. I don’t know about your area, but Central Illinois is awash with them. So I’m not going to be responsible for producing anymore.

Don’t get me wrong; Yoga should be accessible, fun, and open to everyone. Everyone should take in-depth yoga training that opens their hearts and minds to the beauty and potential of this extraordinary technology. That passion for sharing Yoga with the world has motivated me as a yoga teacher and teacher trainer for over 18 years.

But honestly, that’s different from what led me to register for my first 200hr teacher training with Yoga Alliance. That was pure expedience. I’d never wanted to offer base-level teacher training. I know that more than 200hrs training is needed to become a competent, experienced, safe, and thoughtful yoga teacher. I’m happy to start a bar fight with anybody who says otherwise. 

I developed a 200hr training and submitted it to Yoga Alliance for approval. And it was approved, just like that- REALLY?

Yoga Alliance didn’t want to know if I was any good as a teacher trainer. Nobody checked to see if my credentials were authentic. Nobody checked up to see if I was delivering the training in the way I’d outlined in my application for registration. I could have been teaching anything – cooking, tennis, aromatherapy – then handing out an RYT200 certificate, and nobody would have been any the wiser. That’s how it works in Yoga Alliance Land – pay the money, get the accreditation.

Let that last paragraph sink in for a moment. The general public and yoga teacher training candidates think Yoga Alliance accreditation means something. It doesn’t. It is entirely unregulated. There are no checks and measures – your RYT200 yoga teacher, or the teacher training you’ve just signed up for, can teach nonsense and still claim official accreditation. It’s not just bonkers; it’s potentially dangerous.

Later, I redeveloped the RYT200 training program to offer high-quality stand-alone training. Everybody needed to start somewhere. Since 200hrs was now the standard baseline for yoga teachers, I could provide well-written training delivered on the premise that this was the first step.

 I was very clear about this in the literature for the 200hr course and throughout the training. This is just stage 1, people. Sure, you’ll be Yoga Alliance accredited at the end of this course, but you should think twice about teaching until you have more training and experience as a student-teacher. 

Most of the graduates from this course did go on to complete advanced training. Others didn’t. Meanwhile, job-seeking emails from newly minted 200hr teachers kept growing. New teachers contact me every month, looking for work at my studio. I put up a page on my studio website stating that we love receiving job applications from teachers who have done their training at my studio. We even offer free mentoring and professional development workshops. And I still end up having conversations like this one:

Me: When did you graduate from your 200hr training?

Teacher: 2 years ago.

Me: What training have you done since then?

Teacher: My classes use crystals, reiki, and essential oils.

Me: Have you done any professional yoga teacher training since graduating?

Teacher: My classes are trendy.

Me: Do you have a mentor?

Teacher: People love crystal healing.

Me: Have you done any yoga training since your 200hr training?

Teacher: No, but I have lots of experience. I’ve taught a lot of classes. Do you use essential oils in your classes? It’s very popular.

It makes my head hurt. It goes like this: Thousands of RYT200 yoga teachers with limited education only want to be famous. 

No wonder offering novelty packages such as Yoga + crystals, essential oils, or sound bowls seems more important to many teachers than high-quality professional development. 

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The ubiquity of RYT200 yoga teacher training ad the subsequent oversupply of teachers has created a race to the bottom. While some teachers remain committed to personal and professional development, many do minimal training. I’m done with it.

So when my studio’s Yoga Alliance registration came up for renewal, I asked myself, was I contributing to the world by offering RYT200 teacher training? The answer was ‘not much.’ So I decided to quit. 

I’m not against accrediting organizations – if anything, yoga teacher training needs more regulation. I’m holding on to developed systems to ensure their accreditations mean something. Hoping, that standards are high, the accreditation process is challenging, and courses are audited to ensure quality control.

So what next? I’m focusing all my energy, passion, and attention on teaching people who want to grow, learn, and develop a safe, intelligent practice. I’m passionate about sharing the benefits of meditation. The world doesn’t need any more RYT200 yoga teachers. But it certainly requires the hope and healing that Yoga – taught with integrity – can bring.

About Connie Pease: Connie Pease has been practicing and teaching yoga since 2005. Initially practicing with Cristene Dugan, Connie has also practiced with Bryan Kest, one of the first and original “power” yoga programs, Beryl Binder Birch, Leslie Karmnoff, Sadie Nardini, Yoganand Michael Carroll, and Suddha Weixler. She is certified, but not going to use labels which doesn’t describe her yoga journey.

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