According to the father of modern Yoga, the first qualification to be a Yoga teacher is to have a connection to the ‘ancient Yoga lineage’. This is one reason Yoga is not like normal exercise.
‘Lineage’ is an indication of where the student has been, who has been the custodian of their learning, and responsible for their knowledge. After all, Yoga is intended to be a spiritual practice.
The father of modern Yoga is Krishnamacharya, from a family that can trace its origins back to the South Indian yogi Nathamuni of the 7th and 8th centuries. So he has this ancient lineage.
The good news is he then taught two modern day yoga masters, B. K. S. Iyengar and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. And from them have come two popular Yoga methods, ‘Iyengar Yoga’ and ‘Astanga Vinyasa Yoga’. And in turn these schools continue to train thousands of Yoga teachers.
So if you choose a certified teacher trained and teaching one of these two original schools, you are directly connected with that ancient lineage. That’s amazing to think about.
In my experience, when a teacher says that they are ‘influenced by’ these schools, they, unfortunately, do not have that ancient connection as they are not certified to teach these methods.
I also believe the newer Yoga schools that may be loosely based around dance, or martial arts, or pilates, etc., have simply lost the connection with this ancient lineage. That’s not to say that students don’t enjoy those classes. I just feel that the end result is that these new forms are just an interesting exercise class for the body. The effect on the body/mind connection is not the same. And maybe this lack of ancient lineage is the reason.