Leslie Hogya, of Victoria BC, has practised Iyengar yoga from its early days in…
Subsequent to a survey completed for RIMYI, Abhijata Iyengar has provided a set of frequently asked questions to respond to several queries.
1) Why does RIMYI object to TTCs?
Please read Note 2 – “Teachers, Mentors and TTC” on Page 45 in the RIMYI Certification Guidelines Booklet that was shared with all Associations after the proposed change in certification system.
2) How can I convey the theoretical aspects which I was able to do effectively in a TTC setup?
You may call your mentees together to address concepts that you think are more generic in nature.
3) Is it possible for other methods to participate in TTCs? OR Can CIYTs participate in other method TTCs?
The philosophy and science of Iyengar yoga is quite unique and cannot be mixed with other methods. Hence, this cannot be accepted. This is also well articulated in the bylaws of each Association.
4) Is it permissible for an Iyengar Yoga teacher to organise TTCs with teachers of other Yoga methods as well?
First of all, we do not accept TTC as an approach to train and certify teachers for the reasons stated earlier. However, some certified teachers sought RIMYI’s permission to showcase Iyengar Yoga in courses conducted by other schools of yoga. RIMYI had no objection to this and granted permission.
But, Iyengar yoga sessions cannot be conducted in teacher training courses of other schools of yoga.
5) Is it possible for all centres with the name Iyengar to host other activities (not other yoga methods) and advertise them? What does ‘as long as the spaces are distincted’ mean?
Certified Iyengar yoga teachers can teach at yoga studios not called “Iyengar studios” or at places where classes (not necessarily yoga) are taught, as long as the Iyengar Yoga class is a separate, distinct offering and not mixed with other classes / activities. We acknowledge the fact that many certified Iyengar yoga teachers are unable to afford exclusive studio spaces, and hence might have to cohabit. However, if associations spot irregularities on this front, they should highlight them as done in the past.
And, centres having the “Iyengar” name should not hold yoga classes of other schools or mix activities (other than yoga) with Iyengar yoga. There are clear guidelines for this.
6) Financial burden on candidates owing to increased duration of an assessment.
The main objective of the new certification process is to make it as simple as possible in sync with current realities, while not compromising one bit on Guruji’s method. Now, there will be only 4 levels as against the 13 in the earlier process. Therefore, the total expenditure incurred by the Association or the student for assessments will be much lesser.
7) Logistic issues of finding assessment venues for the weekend
We acknowledge that this might be a challenge for some of you initially. However, with some creativity, can we not solve this problem?
All that is required is a clean hall to accommodate the members involved and a way to manage props. It can be a simple makeshift arrangement. Our community always treasures friendship and close-knit networks which enable good practice, learning & progress in the yogic spirit of maitri, i.e., friendliness. This can be helpful in figuring out options for weekend assessments without imposing much financial burden.
Our community is our biggest strength. Find a way to reach out to the student community with these issues and someone may be willing to help us.
Let us always keep in mind that the Iyengar yoga ecosystem will be the one to gain tremendously if we are able to nurture deserving and passionate teachers.
8) Decreasing number of assessors
All associations should spend time and energy creating a pool of assessors with a pipeline for the future. Mentors / higher level teachers should play an active role in this while being assessors themselves. If we need great teachers, we need great assessors too.
We should open this up for more discussion and tap good practices on this from across the Iyengar yoga world.
Retakes have been introduced primarily to give the candidate an opportunity to try and improve on some activities done by them during the assessment period. Assessors should be fair in allowing retake opportunities provided they feel that the candidate is almost there and should not be made to wait for the next round of assessment.
Hence, this assessment process demonstrates flexibility, and recognises that candidates can perform below their par / usual capability due to nervousness of being assessed, anxiousness to get certified etc.
10) Why should assessors and assessees practice together?
Practice is the fundamental ground in Iyengar yoga. Teachers and Assessors should have this as a very important part of daily life. This is what has brought us to where we are today. We seniors should look forward to practice sessions with aspiring teachers. Engaging in a practice session during assessment is helpful in many ways.
- Practice is the only place where you and the assessees get together as co-travellers on the path of yoga without hierarchy. We can get together without such barriers.
- It puts the student at ease because it is a known terrain for the assessee also. The joy of exploring asanas together will put to rest the anxiety of performance. It is our job as seniors to augur such an experience.
- It is an excellent opportunity to observe the spirit of self-practice in the assessee.
It is shocking that we have received even a single question as to why this slot should exist at all, that too from assessors!
11) Scoring and taking notes
This is something that assessors will get used to over time.
As you can see, the new assessment method moves away from a rigid system of marking to a more contextual and qualitative one. When Guruji was teaching the assessors what to observe, he broke it down into various aspects and the scoring came about. With experience now, the assessors will be quick to observe the overall quality of the presentation and take the appropriate decision. We will not change this as it is in the positive direction.