At Yoga Integrated Science™ Wellness Center, we are a 500 hour teacher training school with Yoga Alliance®. Being the developer of this program, I feel such gratitude that I have had the opportunity to share yoga with others and have helped to create so many fine yoga teachers out there! I am also very grateful for my teachers and mentors. They inspired me to be a mentor for others. I have been teaching nationally since 1996 and locally since 1989. As I prepare for my next 200 hour teacher training course, I wanted to share some interesting statistics about yoga as it stands in the United States today. According to the 2016 “Yoga in America Study” conducted by Yoga Journal® and Yoga Alliance®, partnering with IPSOS Public Affairs, yoga class participation in our country has increased to over 36 million in 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012. 28% in America (IPSOS, 2016). In this study, more men are also practicing yoga! They report that Yoga practitioners are spending over $16 billion on yoga clothing, equipment, classes and accessories in the last year, up from $10 billion in 2012. (IPSOS, 2016) The study reports that approximately 37 million Americans practice yoga today – up significantly from 20 million in 2012. Some key facts from this study report some interesting facts about what is happening in the US just from getting more people to practice yoga! All statistics are taken from this study (IPSOS, 2016)
- 75% of all Americans agree “yoga is good for you.”
- 34% of Americans say they are at least somewhat likely to practice yoga in the next 12 months – representing more than 80 million Americans.
- Yoga’s main attractions are the enjoyment of yoga itself, yoga’s impact on health and yoga as a stress reliever.
- 74% of American practitioners have been practicing for less than 5 years.
- 9 out of 10 Americans have heard of yoga – up from 7 out of 10 in 2012.
- 80% of practitioners self-report they have good balance compared to 64% of non-practitioners
- 75% of practitioners self-report being physically strong compared to 57% of non-practitioners
- 86% of practitioners report having a strong sense of mental clarity compared to 77% of non-practitioners
- 79% of yoga practitioners report giving back to the community compared to 59% of non-practitioners.
Not only that, the study polled yoga studios about the importance of certification and credentials among yoga teachers. They report that “91% of yoga studio owners believe it is important for their teachers to have a Yoga Alliance credential, 99% of Yoga studio owners believe that it is very important for teachers to continue learning through more training, and 99% of Yoga studio owners believe that teachers should be knowledgeable about the yoga poses.” (IPSOS, 2016) At Yoga I.S. ®, we get individuals inquiring about yoga teacher training all the time. Most have had a tremendous healing experience from yoga and feel some sort of calling to share it with others. One thing we know for sure is that students who commit to the study of yoga are changing the world. I just got back from presenting in a conference in Virginia called “The International DCAC Fitness Education Conference” and I noticed a huge shift from past experiences. More people were asking me about yoga and how they can learn more about it. My sessions were full and surprisingly the most popular topics were those regarding the use of yoga techniques for helping with back & neck pain plus performing yoga with chairs. More teachers were discovering, after having been in the industry for a while, that they were getting more and more people who needed help in ways that their previous yoga teacher training courses did not prepare them for. Many told me that their training did not teach them about joints, mechanics, and a deep understanding of yoga asana.
Since I made the decision to organize all of my individual courses into a 500 hour teacher training course in 2011, I have certified many teachers. I hear about whether or not my graduates are working in the field successfully, if they are effective, and if they are making a difference. I have heard from our graduates that even though the course was thorough and challenging, they realized upon graduation that they felt prepared. They felt they knew how to cue a joint action, were better at manipulating force, had a lot of practice knowing how to break down an asana for an individual, and felt they had an understanding of when and how to progress pranayama. Many went on to delve deeper into meditation and stress management. We also have many come through more courses in our 300 hour program. They discovered that they started needing more education in working with students in a one-on-one environment. This, I predict, is an upcoming trend: yoga personal training.
Coming through teacher training is a big decision for anyone. I have always felt that learning a bunch of poses and sequences with no background as to WHY and HOW will not make for a successful teacher. The study of yoga is often times called a mind-body practice. Learning about the body intricately needs to be the first step. Empowering someone to understand how to keep themselves in good health is the cornerstone of wellness. Once people feel better, they invariably begin to learn about being content with their body and their uniqueness. They discover kindness towards themselves. They begin to understand how to be kinder to others, to animals, and to the environment. People become happier. People reconnect to their Divine Consciousness. They begin to know their purpose and commit to having a more fulfilling existence.
I can remember a time in my life in 2001, sitting across from my divorce lawyer and my ex-husband’s attorney who said that I was “Just a yoga teacher.” How ironic that this comment propelled me to commit to my path even more :-). My decision to be a yoga teacher was and has been a calling for me. I feel that I am living the best life possible for myself. I am excited to be able to be on the path of helping others to teach yoga. I know that it is a noble profession! I believe that Yoga can heal the world and I look forward to the next batch of new teachers coming in this September who are not afraid to commit to this path.
Lauren Eirk, MS, E-RYT 500, MATm
MAT™ RX Foot and Hand Specialist
Developer, Yoga I.S.® Teacher Training Programs
IPSOS Public Affairs. (2016, January). Yoga Study in America. (The Social Research and Corporate Reputation Specialists). Found August 21, 2016 from file:///C:/Users/Downloads/2016%20Yoga%20in%20America%20Study%20RESULTS.pdf