To be or not to be… a yoga teacher?

To be or not to be a yoga teacher?

The 200hr Yoga Teacher Training that will save you from yourself



the yoga teacher spaghetti factory

Yoga is a hot topic these days as its popularity has become mainstream largely spurned by the increase in classes offered at gyms and fitness centers. Perhaps the growing dissatisfaction of the general American populace mulling over the meaning of their lives turned topsy turvy during the housing crisis and economic downturn of 2007 also led to alternate self healing methods. Of course, people have been doing yoga way before then as well albeit not to the degree it’s mushroomed in recent years. Around major cities, the commercialization is easily seen with the influx of many yoga clothing stores.

What is the real hook of yoga? Why does it seem everyone knows someone or a few who are “certified yoga teachers?” Is there really any emancipation in becoming a yoga teacher? (I’m here to tell you there’s not!) Are yoga studios to blame for churning out teachers like a spaghetti factory (no pun intended) because that is their mainstay of income to keep the business profitable? More importantly, why are YOU thinking of taking that 200 hour yoga teacher training?

I’ve been teaching yoga in San Francisco going on three years now, averaging 8 classes per week. And no, it wasn’t something I’d aspired to be since I was a kid or even five years ago! Growing up athletic was how I got introduced to many yoga poses. So the physical practice, which is what’s mostly popular in the West, came easier to me than many.  Keep that in mind when you see beautifully posed yoga pictures of ex-dancers, ex-gymnasts or in my case, an athletically inclined body.pravrta ardha chandr

When I enrolled in the 200 hour teacher training, it wasn’t to become a yoga teacher. I have two studio owners and countless students to thank for that! It was certainly to find emancipation from a stuck career. And that I did. As my personal yoga practice deepens, I continue to find strength, flexibility and balance — not only physically on the mat, but emotionally and mentally in my daily life. That is the oasis of relief and respite you will be released to when you get deep into a yoga practice. One of the ways to further your practice is through the likes of teacher training programs.

A yoga teacher training program is a misnomer as none prepares you to become a full fledged teacher. Yoga is not a sport one can train, qualify or quantify for as there’s so much more to it than just the physical practice. It isn’t even a sport, though it will certainly help you in bettering any activity. Having said that, there exist institutions offering certifications at a collegial level in yoga. Not having been through such a program, I cannot offer an opinion in those cases. I write mostly to address the increase of yoga studios that are continuously spinning out teachers by the hoards; me being one of them!

What can a 6 month long yoga teacher training offer? Certainly an understanding on the basic concepts of what more there is to yoga than the physical practice. An intensive month long 200hr TT program probably offers you the same thing but like orange juice made from concentrate. You still get a taste, but not the real deal. What then is the real deal? Is the two year long Iyengar teacher training the answer then? Even they don’t think so! The emancipation from life and life’s burdens that we all seek can only be found in your own work, your “practice,” your own journey. So before taking on any such yoga teacher training program, consider your intentions.  Consider the options.

yoga3-orange     The 200hr teacher training program was the catalyst for deepening my journey into finding salvation. Were there other options? Most certainly, but my path led me to this probably because I was already a physically active person and had enjoyed attending yoga classes for over a decade. Since then, however, I’ve seen and met first hand countless people from all walks of life, from teens to superb seventies, with all kinds of physical abilities or dis-abilities whose lives have been transformed by their yoga practice. So yes, if you have time to dedicate and $3,000 to spare, why not enroll? For me, it was the right thing at the right time and I’ll be forever grateful I did. It saved me from a maddening work life.

     Deepening my practice by way of the teacher training also helped deepen my meditation practice, which pssst, if you haven’t heard is the real purpose of yoga! Chitta vritti nirodha — yoga speak or Sanskrit meaning “yoga is for the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” As Dan Millman (author of “The Peaceful Warrior”) purports, all the problems in our lives are in our heads – in our minds. The non-stop thoughts (often referred to as monkey mind) is what’s really driving us crazy. Hence if you already have a daily, solid, steady meditation practice, I seriously don’t think you need to enroll in a yoga teacher training program. You’re probably not even bothering to read this article in the first place. OK, you get my point.

Take on a teacher training program because you know no other better way for you to deepen your yoga practice. Do it because you want to be open to the world of this ancient practice and learn how much more there is to learn! Besides orthodontics and a master’s degree, this is the most impact-ful and meaningful endeavor I’ve ever splurged on! Just take to heart that there will always be more work to save us from ourselves! That’s why it’s called a practice, just like how Shakespeare said that life’s a stage and we’re all actors. Just how, exactly, do you want it to play out?
yoga2Special thanks to Pablo Sachez, fellow conzpirator for the graphics.  Click on them to visit his website or go to —



About Magi Khoo

Yogi Freedom Fighter. Magi teaches yoga in San Francisco with a flair of humor, grounding, breath, mindfulness, strengthening and balancing it all together in one simple om.

One Response to “To be or not to be… a yoga teacher?”

  1. Magi Khoo September 23, 2014 5:17 am #

    I came across this great article shortly after posting this blog. It’s a great read for those considering the life of a yoga teacher:

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