As some of you have heard, a couple of weeks ago, I passed the Intermediate Junior 1 teacher assessment. I was already a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher before I took the exam but passing the test means that I have another certificate beyond the basic certification. There are three levels of certification; Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Intermediate and Advanced levels are each broken down into 6 sub-levels. Each has their own separate syllabus of poses, pranayamas, and philosphies.
Each of the levels comes with new responsibilities. For example, at the Intermediate Junior 3 level the teacher can run a teacher training program. At the next level, Intermediate Senior 1, they can teach therapeutic yoga for specific ailments. At my new level I am now able to sign the assessment recommendation form for a prospective new Iyengar Yoga teacher. In my opinion this is good news for Cincinnati. If there is going to be any kind of Iyengar Yoga community in Cincinnati there needs to be more teachers. And the only way there can be more teachers is if the hopeful teachers have access to other certified teachers. For more about the certification process, and its prerequisites, see the Certification & Assessment page on the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States website.
The process for applying, being accepted and then taking the actual assessment is long, challenging, and often stressful. Some yoga teacher friends outside of the method do not understand why one would want to go through such a process because it is so long and hard. But inside the method, there is an understanding and respect for the process. When we see that someone has passed a new level of certification we know they have put in a lot of time and effort to become a better teacher.
The truth is that the assessment process is designed to first create good certified teachers and then go on to develop those teachers into more mature practitioners and therefore even better teachers. I believe that the assessment process has done just that for me. After all the endless hours working on the asanas on my syllabus, the many many hours spent reading and re-reading the books, I find myself once again in new territory. The same way I found myself in a new place after I finished the initial certification in 2008.
I don’t know that I am clear enough yet about how to describe this new territory. But I know it has something to do with the way I see myself as a person and as a practitioner and the fact that the edges of these areas of my life are becoming more blurred and over lapped. The person and the practitioner are becoming more integrated.