mid-day editorial: Don't be flexible about your yoga teacher

With International Yoga Day all set to leave Mumbaikars in knots tomorrow, here's hoping that the ancient practice continues to reach and help more people across the world. Having said that, it's equally important that enthusiasts ensure they practice yoga under the supervision of trained instructors.

International Yoga Day has served as a springboard to popularise yoga even more in India and abroad. Hopefully more people will make it a way of life, and not just mark it on one day of the year. The flipside of the growing popularity of yoga is that it is also being viewed as a money-spinning venture, with several cases of unqualified people posing as yoga gurus. Fakes posing as qualified instructors can be dangerous and those practising under their 'guidance' are at risk of serious injury. In yoga, like in several other streams in life, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Laypersons simply go by word of mouth when it comes to yoga teachers, and oftentimes, if a friend or relative recommends a teacher, people assume that he or she must be authentic. Gyms across the city too offer yoga classes as attractive add-ons. While these are welcome, gym managements need to vet who they recruit and be careful about teaching credentials.

There needs to be some kind of yardstick and uniformity within the wellness industry, which has spawned charlatans, fake claims, phoney gurus and dubious masters. In the absence of one cohesive body to monitor yoga teachers, it is good to use old-fashioned common sense to judge a teacher's qualities. Ask to see their qualifications, their teaching certificates. There must be a minimum number of years after which they can qualify to teach.
This is one place where yoga practitioners cannot afford to be flexible.

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