Health & Fitness Supplement

Becoming a yoga instructor

Tess Kim | Fulcrum Contributor

THE FIRST TIME I tried yoga was deep in my awkward phase—pubescent with my hair parted down the middle. I followed my mother into one of her restorative yoga classes, this one consisting of mostly women and some men in the upper range of middle age. Needless to say, I felt smug about being able to out-yoga my greying classmates. I was young, flexible, and arthritis-free. I was hooked.

My first true foray into serious yoga came last year when I signed up with a private hot yoga studio. Expecting the same slow pace and easy postures, I swaggered into class, vastly overconfident and underprepared. Not only were my new yoga-mates highly attractive stay-at-home moms and gorgeous fitness-crazed men, the instructor was the fittest, most beautiful woman I had ever seen in a sports bra. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to become an instructor. Her syrupy voice led us through a grueling hour of the most intense workout I had ever experienced—and this is coming from a fitness fanatic who ran 12 kilometres every day for an entire winter.

After a year of beautiful reverse triangles, balancing half moons, and power dogs at this golden studio, I decided it was time. This past summer, blessed with my parents’ generosity and credit card, I signed up for a teaching course at the studio, and I now owe my parents unlimited free yoga for the rest of their able-bodied lives.

I opted for private lessons so I could schedule the class for whenever I wanted. This way I can finish my instructor’s certification in as little as six months, or take my sweet time and relish three years of study. Class entails textbook readings, assignments, and a final exam, as well as a lab component: in-class work on postures and the perfection of that “yoga voice.” In this sense, it’s not that much different than a normal university class. The work is intensive and thorough; whether it’s the stories of Hindu gods and goddesses or the purpose of all seven chakras, I need to know it.

After all the time spent in class, money spent on tuition, and hours spent doing homework, the payoff is amazing. I’ll soon be finished with the course, and will be able to shamelessly brag that I’m an internationally certified yoga instructor—plus I’m able to name off major muscle groups and various joints and bones despite not being a human kinetics student. Last but definitely not least, I’ll soon become that golden yoga instructor, using my smooth voice to lead the class through a killer King Pigeon—it’s harder than it sounds, I swear! And maybe, just maybe, I’ll inspire others on their fitness journeys as well.