What’s In A Yoga Certification?: Getting Yoga Certified

Some big news going on in my world is that this week I’m starting my yoga certification. Many of you might have assumed that I am already certified since I teach several yoga classes per week at Fulcrum Fitness and with my own private clients.

In fact, the entire time I have been teaching yoga, not once has anyone brought up certification in conversation. I’m certain that I’ve had certified teachers attend my class, and they never asked me whether I was certified.

Chakra-asana - Wheel Pose

Not having a certification has never been an issue for me. I’ve been practicing power vinyasa going on six years now, and before I started teaching it to clients, I led friends through their practices for several years.

Many studios might require their yoga teachers to have completed a minimum of a 200 hour certification that is recognized by Yoga Alliance, but this practice is largely regulated by each studio, as there is no general rule that requires a yoga teacher to have certification. Indeed, I have encountered plenty of certified yoga teachers with fewer years of experience practicing. This raises the question then, what’s in a certification?

What’s In A Yoga Certification?

So you might be wondering, if I’m already teaching it and being certified is not required, why would I want to spend the money and the time to become certified?

Getting certified will bolster my professional credentials, which I’m always interested in. I also feel that it’s something that I want to pursue as a means of deepening my own practice. Additionally, I feel my own inner confidence in myself as a teacher will increase with being properly certified.  I currently have a sufficient amount of confidence, but I have no way of knowing how I will feel, or just exactly how going through this certification will change me.

I do feel that humility is an important component of being an honest person and a dedicated yogi. Somewhere between being a personal trainer and being a yogi, there is a  conflict with this in my own personality. I am interested in exploring this as I surround myself with talented practitioners.

One thing is certain in my mind: even though a certification does not make a teacher,  I only stand to benefit from the experience.

How can your yoga practice not benefit from 200 hours of additional study?

Deepening Your Yoga Practice

There are plenty of certified yoga teachers that don’t actually teach. Getting your certification is about deepening your journey into exploring your practice, and what yoga means to you.

The thing about yoga is that it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, how advanced you aren’t, how strong you might be, or which Prana pants you wear. Regardless of where you are in your journey, there is a lesson to be learned. The only difference between a flexible person and an inflexible person is that a flexible person has to go farther into a pose in order to feel something.

This applies to every aspect of yoga. It’s not about being better or less, it’s only about exploring where you are in your own personal journey.

Flexibility is meaningless.

As an example, I like to imagine an old yogi, who through the natural aging process is no longer as flexible as he or she once was in their earlier days. Does this imply that they are not as good at yoga as they once were?

I would argue “no.” They haven’t regressed in their knowledge or understanding. They are simply responding to the conditions in which they find themselves presently.

If they are being challenged by their practice, then they are benefiting from it. If they are benefiting from it, then there is nothing else that is necessary.

Just breathe!

The only thing that is required of life yoga and which is a fundamental aspect of all existing styles is that you just breathe.

The breath is what ties you to the present moment. Breathing itself is the essence of the present moment.

So: being flexible is not required, and nor is doing arm balances or inversions; if you can breathe and work on clearing your mind, then you are doing yoga just fine.

Getting Yoga Certified

For my certification, I’ll be going to CorePower Yoga Portland.

Since I live in Portland, and there are easily a dozen places that offer teacher training, you might be wondering why I’ve chosen CorePower.

*Cost – I really hope that no one at CorePower takes offense to me listing this as the first reason I chose them. I don’t mean disrespect, but cost is an issue for me, and this was probably the main thing that influenced my decision once I decided to get certified.

Generally, I would suggest that someone take the best certification that they can afford, but how do you measure the best? You can’t really say with any certainty at all that any place is better than another unless you have actually gone through them to compare. I’m excited, enthusiastic, and proud that I’m getting my certification through CorePower, and I believe that I have a lot to learn from their knowledgeable teaching instructors.

*Time commitment –  Many studios have long, drawn out certification processes. Some of them take as long as a year to complete. CorePower’s certification can be completed in as little as 8 weeks. To me, that’s just practical.

CorePower’s program doesn’t require that you spend a week long retreat in Mexico, or India, or any number of other places that some studios do. Spending a week in Bali sure does sound nice, but I just can’t fathom what that really has to do with yoga certification. Of course, unless I’ve done it, I suppose it’s not fair to judge.

*Style – I really appreciate CorePower’s no-nonsense style. In a way, I feel a little unfortunate that I’ve never discovered my “yoga guru”, or teacher that I really connect with. To my benefit, this has allowed me to explore a lot of different styles, with a lot of different teachers.

I can say with certainty that I’m not into a lot of metaphysics, Hindu gods and goddesses, or ohming my way to nirvanic bliss. To me, the spiritual part of yoga is what you discover within yourself through consistent practice and dedication to yourself. It is attained through dedication to living in accordance with yogic principles of “doing no harm” and commitment to honesty. CorePower presents an environment that is conducive to that by going light on the new-aginess factor.

I’m looking forward to the experience. I’m not sure yet to what extent I’ll blog about the process. In fact, I was unsure about even mentioning that I’m not currently certified.

Wish me luck, and let me know what your thoughts on this certification process might be in the comments section below.


4 thoughts on “What’s In A Yoga Certification?: Getting Yoga Certified”

    1. Thanks Jenny! I’m one week in, 7 more to go. Not counting 4th of July week, which we have off. It’s a lot of work to throw into my schedule…but you know me!

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