The Profession and Business of Yoga

The Yoga Profession

As I’ve proceeded to come in my own as a teacher and continue to be a student, I’ve seen that the term “yoga teacher” has no standards (or perhaps very loose). Yoga is so hot right now, as Paris Hilton would say, and a lot of people want to get in it, do it and teach it. Definitely a good thing for our overstressed society.

However, a yoga teacher can be anyone, from somebody who calls himself a yoga expert because he can do a handstand and took a weekend workshop, to a highly skilled, highly professional, and highly experienced teacher who’ also a Physical Therapist and been teaching for 38 years and counting.

The Business of Yoga

Additionally, I’ve started to become extremely uncomfortable with is the oversexed, overglammed, image-driven commercialization of yoga. Yoga has turned into a multi-million dollar industry. Every where I turn, there is a pretty, young, thin woman dressed in fashionable spandex advertising the amazing benefit of yoga. “Enlightenment can be yours, too, if you were donned in really expensive spandex”, seems to be the message.

With the proliferation of yoga studios, yoga brands, yoga celebrities, self-proclaimed experts and yoga injuries, I occasionally get that urge to hang up my hat on my very short carrer as a yoga teacher. I do yoga to get away from those exact things so prolific in the yoga world, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

How do we uphold a higher standard as a profession? How do we get past all the pervasive glitter that is not gold? How do we encourage more rigorous discussions of the yoga asanas so that people learn and teach with caution and safety, instead of subcumbing to the Marketing engine that values sound bites over substance?

How do we, in the work of returning to our authentic Self, steer yoga back to its authenticity? Or, is it all just part of the process, is it all just the vrtti we have to work with to find our nirodhah?

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