Every now and then I get an email from a hopeful yoga enthusiast, asking me to help publicize their video submission for a yoga teacher training contest. I always politely decline. I don’t know this person, and other than a 2-minute video essay and some snapshots of them in various yoga poses, I have no idea of their potential as a yoga teacher.
This morning, another contest popped up in my newsfeed (see image above!). The call-out included a link to The Clarity Centre, an Ontario-based wellness and yoga centre which has recently launched a 250-hour yoga teacher training program.
The Clarity contest follows the same structure as other similar contests:
Step 1: aspiring yoga teachers film a short video/write an essay about how yoga has changed their life and why they want to teach
Step 2: aspiring yoga teachers share the video through their social networks and encourage their friends to vote/like/retweet, using a hashtag created just for the occasion
Step 3: the aspiring yoga teacher with the most touching video/essay and, more importantly, the most shares/likes, wins!
Yoga teacher training programs can cost between $2,500 and $5,000 and this can be a barrier for many inspired yogis who want to offer the practice in their communities. But there’s no guarantee that a social media popularity contest (and free marketing for the YTT programs) will actually produce a skilled teacher.
The promise of “winning” a new career is also kind of ridiculous. When was the last time you saw a contest for training to become a bookkeeper? Or a dental hygienist? Carpenter?
What do you think – are YTT contests a way to make teacher training programs more accessible to a wider range of people? Or do they run the risk of devaluing the profession?