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Natural Awakenings Hartford

Yoga Teachers Enhance Wellness of Students and Selves

Teaching wellness can be a golden opportunity, enabling someone to find work that is meaningful. Providing service to others, especially in wellness, is a fulfilling career choice and encourages personal growth within the teacher. Teaching yoga is this career choice for many.

Aspiring teachers will find that there are many different types of yoga education. Trainings can be as short as one weekend, month-long residencies or as lengthy as a couple of years. Most schools require a minimum of one year’s yoga practice before training, although some accept students with no prior experience. A 200-hour training course can cost between $2,200-6,500, with some foundations and schools offering scholarships.
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Regardless of prior job experience, becoming a yoga teacher is an option for people with varying personal and professional needs.

Pat Lund, financial administrator for a construction supplier, found sitting sedentary at a workstation for eight hours each day took a toll on her body. She had discovered yoga and its benefits years before and was already certified to teach. When a layoff forced her to make life changes, she knew which direction she was going. “Yoga helped me emotionally through this transition,” Lund says, adding, “I enjoyed my work, but now had the opportunity to build a healthier career by blending the movement of yoga with the rewards I experience as a manager.” Eight years later, Pat now says: “I found the right mix of 30 office hours a week and 10 hours of yoga teaching. I’m looking toward retirement when yoga will be my full-time life choice.”   

For some, there’s the challenge of balancing a full-time job with raising a family. Heather Anselmi, an elementary teacher, began yoga and found that the classes refreshed and enlightened her. She experienced paddleboard yoga and realized this could be her blend of teaching year round while balancing her family’s schedule. “Yoga has truly changed my life more than I ever imagined,” says Heather. She became certified in yoga on the mat and on the board and created her dream business, Downdog Paddle and Yoga, which will launch on the shore in Guildford this summer.

Although some states have begun regulating yoga schools, Connecticut has not. Without regulation or standardized requirements, employers may have different requirements for yoga teachers.  Asking a favorite yoga center or teacher about options can help provide insight about courses. In the United States, programs that meet certain standards are registered by the Yoga Alliance, a nationally recognized organization and registry system for yoga teachers and schools. The Alliance recommends a minimum of 200 hours of training for a teaching certificate. Seeking out Yoga Alliance certified programs ensures certificates will be of value when earned and students will have spent a specified number of hours studying asana, teaching technique, anatomy and philosophy. Upon completion of a Yoga Alliance registered teacher-training program, teachers may use the initials RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) after their name.

Whether through full-time or part-time teaching, yoga instructors are sure to find that the personal benefits are well worth the investment of going through training and sharing the practice with students.

Lara Azzarito Ward is an experienced 500-hour yoga instructor and is the founder and director of Lotus Gardens Yoga School. Lotus Gardens is the first Yoga Alliance approved teacher training in CT and has certified more than 300 instructors. For more information on teacher training, contact Lara at 860-354-6853.
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