By Kirsten Elfendahl, Administrator for the College of Purna Yoga
January 13, 2005
Finding work that is financially rewarding and personally fulfilling is becoming a greater and greater challenge in today’s workforce. For those looking to augment their personal, family, or retirement income, or to add a sense of purpose and value to their current careers, yoga offers many opportunities.
“The work force today seems to be struggling to understand how to balance their financial security with their needs to contribute to the world in a healthy balanced way. We see more people who are looking for part-time work that fills their need for wellness and health, while augmenting their income, or as a way to contribute health, wellness, and balance to others,” says Kathy Triplett, the manager of Yoga Centers, a popular local studio.
Mana Iluna, a long-time yoga teacher says that while the monetary augmentation is always beneficial, “it’s the wonderful relationships that occur in the process of helping others that I most value.” In her late-60’s, Iluna never thinks of retirement, and maintains a counseling practice in addition to teaching yoga.
“Teaching yoga feels like a vacation from my other work, which is more mental and sedentary,” says Aurora, who works for Eastern Essence, an organic food line. She finds that teaching yoga helps balance the mental activity of the business world. “Teaching yoga is tremendously satisfying, to be able to facilitate people wanting to grow, expand their health, and to be who they truly are. Yoga is such a holistic discipline, and as a teacher I get to incorporate philosophy, nutrition, and spirituality. Teaching supports my own physical health and personal growth as well,” says Aurora.
Finding the appropriate training has just gotten easier too. In 2003, the Washington State Workforce Training Board certified its first yoga teacher training vocational school. The College of Purna Yoga, in Bellevue, began in the fall of 2004. As the first yoga vocational school, the College of Purna Yoga seeks to bring industry standards to yoga training where none exist. “Right now any one—no matter their level of training or knowledge—can teach yoga, which is very dangerous. Students often don’t realize the differences in training for teachers, and that there is no national standard certifying yoga teachers,” says Triplett. The College of Purna Yoga is a two-year, 1,700 hour program that trains its teachers in the therapeutics and rehabilitative aspects of yoga, marketing, business skills, nutrition, and ethics for yoga professionals, among other topics.
George Carroll, a new yoga teacher at Yoga Centers, also has a full-time job as a publishing representative. He echoes the sentiments of people looking for a greater purpose in today’s working world. “My other job is fun, but it’s pretty commercial. My work doesn’t hurt anybody, and I represent amazing products, but it’s hard to give back in doing that. But when I’m teaching, I get to give back to other people. With yoga I give back to society as well.”
© 2005 Purna Yoga Centers
Kirsten Elfendahl is the Administrator for the College of Purna Yoga, located in Bellevue, WA. Learn more on our YOGA page!