Hi everyone! As many of you may be aware, I am a PhD student at the University of California, Davis, in the department of sociology. My dissertation research investigates the popularization and professionalization of yoga within the last fifty years in the United States, with a special interest in issues of access and inequality within yoga. I have finally finished putting together and testing an online survey for yoga teachers discussing these topics, and am currently recruiting participants! If you are a yoga teacher or have gone through a yoga certification program, please consider taking my survey. I really appreciate your help, and your responses will contribute to an interesting project that will eventually become a book on the modern history of yoga, including teacher training systems.
The survey takes around 30 minutes to complete and will ask teachers about their motivations for pursuing a yoga teacher training, experiences getting certified (if relevant), experiences working in the yoga industry (if relevant), and any trials or difficulties they have faced teaching yoga. Participants do not have to currently be teaching yoga to participate.
The survey link: Yoga Teacher Survey
Here is a little information more about my project: The purpose of my dissertation research is to uncover the socially constructed nature of an “authentic” yoga body within the field of yoga in the United States. What exactly does being a “yogi” entail, and how have practitioners and the yoga industry constructed this identity at various social and historical moments? In what ways are these constructions institutionalized within the field, contributing to inequality and inaccessibility for select populations? The first aim of this study is to explore how self-identified yogis understand the practice of yoga and the identity of a “yogi” at different historical moments and among unique demographic populations of yoga users, or yoga producers, particularly instructors and those who train teachers. The second aim of this study is to explore the processes that led to these constructions and their relation to the professionalization, commercialization, and popularization of the practice since the diffusion of yoga to the West after the 1960s.
Thank you all for your help! If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me. And of course, feel free to share at will!
Love, light, and… yoga ❤
4 thoughts on “LAUNCHED: Survey for Yoga Teachers”
I started to take the survey, but found I wanted to reach out with a question first. My first teacher training was in 2000, when no one really cared about certification and YA was not essential, like it seems to be today. It wasn’t a full program, only 21 hours total, but enough to just scratch the surface and give me the confidence to start teaching. It was nothing like current programs.
I then went on to get certified in a 500 hour program (Anusara yoga) that was very structured. Tons of training. Many, many years and lots of money. I started studying Anusara and logging hours in 2005 and was certified in 2012. Their program, however, wasn’t one sitting. You could train with multiple teachers in different areas, however you liked, as the curriculum was somewhat standardized.
Though it wasn’t my first training, I think, based on the questions I started to answer, this would be the program you’d be more interested in. Is that true?
And PS: I’ve now led or guest-taught in multiple teacher training programs for a variety of yoga studios and would be happy to share on that front too if it helps your research.
Hi Paisley, thanks for reaching out to me! Great question. I completely understand; most programs earlier than 2005 probably didn’t resemble anything like we have now (at least not the more “standard” YA approved trainings that have grown in popularity since then). It’s one of the historical changes I’m interested in and writing about. Most of the questions about certification are geared toward the first training you may have gone through. I think many teachers have gone through multiple trainings over the course of their careers, so I would try and answer (if you can recall) the questions for the first intro training you had, rather than the more advanced 500 hour Anasura program you completed. I hope this answers your question! If it didn’t just let me know and I’ll try to clarify further. I would love to hear more about your experience teaching TT programs, although am crazy busy right now so am not sure whether I’d have time to talk with you in a more structured way. If you want to send along any stories of experiences you have had that you feel might be helpful, though, I’d greatly appreciate it! I’m knee deep in the first wave of interviews for my project and participant observation work so it can be a struggle to keep everything straight in my head. I’m sure you understand, as you are probably very busy too! 🙂 Thanks again, hope you are well.
Great idea, will share this – the trouble though is that using the vocabulary of “teacher” and “student” as categories tends to endorse an uncritical power relation established already within a (probably false) perception of a state of information asymmetry. The idea that yoga can be taught is itself a largely unexamined and potentially harmful Gestell – even before we get to the more brutal realities of professionalization and corporatization and so on. Fragile Ontologies touches on our over-reliance on categorical thinking to try and account for yoga and the industrial world, and in Yoga and Education, (In Defence of Yoga) the assumptions that education has only a positive role in yoga is turned on it’s head.
Thanks, I agree with you that the idea yoga can be taught at all, especially in the western educational format, is problematic and needs to be examined more. I appreciate your insightful thoughts and questions!