Santosha Yoga studio offers a yoga teacher training program each fall and requires those accepted into the program to complete community service, known as karma yoga, during their four month training.
Santosha Yoga’s co-owner, Dina Lang, created and leads the 200 hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification program and she felt strongly that every teacher trainee (TT) needs to give back to the community and created the requirement of Karma Yoga. As Dina explains, “it can be anything in which they are offering selfless service and expecting nothing in return, even recognition.”
Twenty two graduates of Dina’s yoga teacher training completed their certification at the end of January. Since all of them had completed their selfless service, this adds up to 88 hours of good works and volunteering happened since the program began last September.
When asked why Karma Yoga is part of the Yoga Teacher Training, Dina explained, “I include karma yoga, selfless service, in my 200 Hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification program because yoga philosophy teaches that this is the ultimate purpose of our very existence. So, to dedicate an hour a month to serving others expecting NOTHING in return, not even recognition, gives us a chance to experience yoga in action. To do what must be done with an open heart is what it means to take our practice off the mat."
The experience of this year’s training class varied in how they chose to give back to the local community. One group of four decided to go together to the Oregon Food Bank and donate their time there. Others gave their time through volunteering in their church or with local programs they are involved. The feedback was positive and comments often expressed gratitude for the encouragement to make the time to give back.
Katy Nadal, Santosha Yoga’s other co-owner, fully supports the karma yoga requirement. It’s something that sets the 200 hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification with Dina Lang at Santosha Yoga apart from other studios. Not everyone knows what goes into a training experience. Some programs focus on the basics of memorizing poses, cues, and a basic sequence. However, programs like Dina’s at Santosha Yoga expand upon that to include yoga philosophy and history, selfless service, and that each TT teach one free hour long community class.
The Community Classes are a way for the TT to gain real experience teaching people and it’s a way for Santosha Yoga to bring yoga into the community without any financial barriers. As Katy says, about the program taught by Dina, “it is sending out new, well-trained yoga teachers into the community.”
If studying yoga or becoming a yoga teacher interests you, Santosha Yoga has the information posted for the 2016-2017 200 Hour Initial Yoga Teaching Certification on the website. Information sessions will be offered in April.
2016 Teacher Training Information