The question of whether there should be standard regulations for all yoga teachers seems to get everyoneeven the most peaceful yogiinto a less-than-peaceful state. It seems that trying to find a balance between the two sides is as difficult as mastering Crow Pose. Here's a quick rundown of the debate.
Safety is of course the biggest concern. The problem with a lack of regulationsthe current status quois that just about anyone can call herself a yoga teacher. Regulations would ensure that a teacher go through at least some sort of certification training in order to call herself a teacher. Seems easy enough, right? But many teachers who have been training and teaching for 30 yearswhile not officially certifiedare master teachers. Should they be required to go back to school to be certified?
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, so there are countless styles and methods. That makes it difficult to determine what styles should be necessary for certification. Different types of yoga emphasize different aspects of practice, and so far the different factions have not agreed on a set of criteria.
My guess is that this debate will be going on for a long time before it gets resolved. In the meantime, heres what you can do to make sure you are practicing yoga safely and effectively.
There is nothing better than a great adjustment from a qualified teacher, but if you arent sure of your teacher's training backgroundor you just dont feel comfortableask him to give you the directions verbally. If he's qualified, he should be able to do this. And, if you trust him, get the hands-on adjustments.
Do your homework
Don't just take your teacher's wordtake some of the learning into your own hands. Borrow some yoga books from the library and research different styles and postures to find out what specifically works for your body. Learn the names of the poses too. That way you will be able to communicate better with your teacher and ultimately become your own best teacher.