Yoga Careers Have Broad Appeal and Rewards

By Aadil Palkhivala, a Master Yoga Teacher, Co-founder of Purna Yoga and Alive & Shine Center, Bellevue, WA

Finding work that is financially rewarding and personally fulfilling is becoming a greater and greater challenge in today’s workforce, which struggles to understand how to balance financial security with the need to contribute to the world in a healthy balanced way.   More people are looking for part-time work that fills their need for wellness and health, while augmenting their income.  And more and more are turning to a career in Yoga.

Yoga, when done correctly, has amazing properties for health and wellness, integrating the whole body with the mind and the spirit.  However, when taught incorrectly, by incomplete training, yoga can cause injury or worse.  Naturally, health fields such as massage, chiropractic, and personal training have state and national standards for certification or licensure; however, yoga has not yet become a licensed profession.  The only national standard for certifying yoga teachers is through Yoga Alliance.

Because the lack of standards, students are left in the dark when choosing a studio or a teacher.  Students often don’t know the importance of good training or the dangers of a lack therein.  There are big differences in types and levels of yoga teacher trainings.  Quality yoga teacher training programs should train teachers in how to safely do asana and yogic breathing, as well as therapeutic and rehabilitative aspects of yoga, meditation, philosophy, nutrition, and professional ethics.  Yoga Alliance, ties to provide standards where none are mandated.  Teachers voluntarily register themselves at one of two levels of training:  the 200-hour Level or the 500-hour Level.

Yoga careers offer people a choice for a more balanced career that can dovetail their existing careers if necessary.  A 200-hour training is perfect for people like physical therapists, massage practitioners, chiropractors, and martial arts instructors, who already work in the health field and want to expand their professional repertoire by being able to utilize the many wonderful tools of yoga correctly, to help their students find long-term sustainable healing.  Also, anyone just getting started will find the 200-hour level as the perfect place to start to build their foundation.

For teachers who really want to transform their teaching into to a sound profession, a 500-hour training is mandatory.  Most schools offer a 300-hour supplement to the 200-hour training to reach the 500-hour level.  To register with Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour Level, a teacher must also demonstrate that they have taught at least 100 hour of yoga classes.  Students learn that in order to be an inspiring teacher, they must also be an inspired practitioner.  500-hour trainings must spend time on developing the professional skills as well as the personal integrity to commit to the yogic life.  At this level, teachers must live their yoga, rather than merely speak about it.

Finally, there are those teachers who understand the true potentials of yoga.  Teaching yoga requires an extended and focused course of study, which, like any great art or science, requires the development of both tangible knowledge and inner wisdom.  For many teachers, the 500-hour Level is not enough training.  To truly embody yoga, one must dedicate themselves to a much deeper course of study.  For example, Purna Yoga College offers a third level of training:  the 2,000-hour, which involves one year of rigorous study that places the greatest attention on the development of a teacher’s professionalism, knowledge of alignment, therapeutics, and inner connection.

Yoga is both an art and a science.  As an art, it is a refined and intricate as classical music.  As a science, it is as complex and precise as physics.  Joy lies in its infinite exploration.  The successful learning of any art or science requires a master to transmit the lineage.  Many yoga schools are created by master yoga teachers, who have given their lives to the infinite exploration of yoga.  To teach yoga requires true inspiration, which comes from the wellspring within the teacher, not any textbook.  To teach yoga is to give to others the greatest gift of all:  the ability to realize their unique individual purpose and to fulfill their destiny.


© 2008 – 2017 Aadil Palkhivala