Nowadays in the yoga world, many traditions of yoga have started debating the Yoga Teacher Training YTT certification and its legitimacy. It is a legitimate question why do yoga teacher training schools provide a yoga teacher certificate just after doing a one-month-long yoga teacher training course? Or after completing 200 hours of study?
The world is moving faster than ever. The guru-disciple relationship used to be considered a lifelong process, and a life-long commitment. A student would stay in Gurukul settings (the house of guru) to progress with self-development knowledge through spiritual practices for years.
Practically it is not possible for every human being to be going to a Gurukul system in this period of time.
Today, yoga is for everyone. It is not just for those who cloister themselves in ashrams or with a guru. Therefore, there are certain short-term courses in yoga that have been formulated to compile the knowledge of yoga, which comes from generations, to provide one a glimpse of how yoga was practiced. A 200-hour yoga teacher training course is a beautiful compilation of ancient knowledge.
One should not say that the yogic practice is my way or your way. It is what it is. Even the knowledge from the lineage (passing from one to another generation) can not be considered as the only way to attend the spiritual path. That is what has been happening in the present world— that one lineage is unable to accept the other in a harmonious way.
First, we need to understand— why are we practicing yoga?
Yoga is not merely a performance of asana (postures) as how it is presented in today's world. With millions of photos of yoga asana on social media or on Google, it has been misleading. While yoga undoubtedly does have the ability and tendency to make one’s body open up to its deepest level and to bring a sense of calmness in the mind, but here the topic goes a bit deeper:
A soul which acquires a physical body and gains a human life, carries impressions which we call samskaras, which are the form of various desires or pending tasks.
As in school if we do not complete our homework the teacher will not let us proceed to the next subject, similarly, the samskaras are our pending homework that are due to be completed, before we can progress. The only challenge here is to know what they are, as once a condition is diagnosed then only cure is possible. To recognize that the practice of yoga comes into play.
Any branch of yoga you choose, its literal job is to create and develop an incredible sense of awareness within oneself. This awareness one develops does all the required job for our soul. Whether it is meditation, asana, pranayama, yoga Nidra, or a yoga philosophy you pick whichever you wish and its ultimate job is to build awareness.
For example Buddha mostly meditated during his life, and to make the most out of it he did the necessary changes to free himself from old impressions. We rarely talk about his deep longing and intensity to know himself.
The process of building such awareness requires enormous self-work and a deep longing within oneself. Its intensity is much much dense than anything. It is something that is incomparable. The burning of this knowing is the only way to truly transform a human life.
Now comes the important question… can a 200 hours yoga teachers training, a master degree, or five years of continuous asana practice, or 10 years of living in complete silence, or a life long sanyasi or a monk life, will that be enough to achieve this?
Honestly speaking any of the above or beyond can take you there. It only matters which path you connect with.
There is no system that guarantees a return in yoga. It is totally your investment to know yourself.
The founder of Punyah Yoga, Hemant Singh, deeply feels that the 200 hours of yoga teacher training course has been misunderstood by many.
When you undertake any 200-hour yoga teacher training program or course, is shows you a way of living to make yourself disciplined towards yourself. It is done through waking up early in the morning, following the curriculum physical exercise, breath, theory, wakeful rest, dhyana etc.
Not to forget again that these are all tools to develop heightened awareness to look within.
The rewards are offered after accomplishing the four weeks of intense training and it simply announces to the world that a person has completed a certain number of hours under a lead teacher. A seeker (lead teacher) knows that those hours are the guidelines to follow when he isn't there. He has shown you the way, walking on the path is entirely up to you.
The one who undergoes the 200 hour yoga teacher training must naturally understand that 200 hours are not there only to make you a yoga teacher, but as a tool to work upon yourself daily and to complete the pending homework from previous lives. During that process, perhaps you share a bit to the world in the form of teaching.
But these days a bit too much emphasis is given to this. A 200 hours yoga teacher trainig course is not enough to become a yoga teacher. We firmly believe that a course such as this goes beyond just enabling you to be a yoga teacher.