“Yoga has changed my life.” A statement that many yoga enthusiasts have made, and a statement that inspires many of them to become yoga teachers. When we love something so much, when something changes us, we often want to share it with the world. And that is what makes us want to teach.
“Teaching is a life-altering experience. It’s humbling, profoundly challenging and ultimately the most rewarding experience I’ve ever known. Becoming a teacher is a journey; it’s a journey into one’s self. Ultimately it’s a journey to what the ancients call the Atman, the Oversoul, the Higher Self. It’s also a journey with a beginning but one without end: teachers are forever students.” – Nancy McCaochan, MA, E-RYT.
At the Inner Door Center®, we offer two types of training for yoga teachers – we offer Enlightenment Teacher Training, and we offer Yoga Therapy Training. You can learn more about these programs by visiting our Facebook page (link here).
So what exactly is the difference between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist? Aren’t they kind of the same?
Becoming a yoga teacher and becoming a yoga therapist is not the same thing. You must become a yoga teacher first before you can move on to yoga therapy. When training to become a yoga teacher, you learn the history of yoga, different teaching techniques, how to use your voice to soothe and cue your students, the different asanas and the benefits that they provide to the body, meditation techniques, etc. Your objective is to be able to take what you know about the practice of yoga and lead a group of students to through your classes.
Typically yoga teachers teach group classes at studios and gyms, although some do teach individuals privately. Typically yoga therapists work with clients individually, but they also facilitate group therapy, as we do here at Inner Door Center® for eating disorder and substance abuse recovery.
Yoga therapy focuses on one specific area and how yoga can help with that area. For example, at Inner Door Center® our Reconnect with Food® Yoga Therapy program focuses on using yoga to help clients with eating disorders and other co-occurring psychological conditions (anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse and related addictions). The requirement to enroll in our yoga therapy training is that you have at least a 200 RYT certification and are a licensed professional working in the field of eating disorders. We do admit peer coaches to our program, but various stipulations apply.
When training to become a yoga therapist, it is important that you are focused inward and are able to heal yourself first. We cannot help anyone or heal anyone unless we have experienced these ourselves. That’s not to say that you must have struggled with an eating disorder in order to provide yoga therapy to those who suffer from an eating disorder; it just means that you must learn how to heal yourself, whatever needs to be healed, before you can help heal others. Once you are able to use yoga therapy to help yourself, to make a personal transformation, they you will be able to share this experience with others to help them make their personal transformation.
We hope that this article has helped to clear up the difference between a yoga therapist and a yoga teacher, and how the training differs for each one. If you want to learn more about the different training courses offered at Inner Door Center®, please visit our Facebook page or the Inner Door Center® website.