Local yoga studio offers certification program

Kara Roberts (front) and Amanda Shari (back right) participate in a yoga session at Inhale Yoga Studio. Inhale offers a 7-week intensive program for yoga enthusiasts who wish to become instructors. (Eli Hiller | For The Post)

Dedicated yogis who yearn to take their practice from a back-row mat to the front of the room might have fewer options to weigh than it would seem.

Though Ping Center offers an option for those wanting to teach yoga at the gym, Inhale Yoga Studio, 63 S. Court St., is the only venue in Athens that offers a training program to nationally certify its pupils as yoga teachers.

The seven-week, weekend intensive Inhale program costs $2,500 for early registration and provides those who successfully complete the process with the credentials to teach at Inhale and other yoga studios. Other costs include books and a studio pass.

“We are registered with Yoga Alliance, which is kind of the governing body of yoga teachers,” said Michelle Stobart, director and senior teacher at Inhale.

She added that the Inhale program requires 50 hours more than the 200 hours required by Yoga Alliance to complete the certification.

Ping also offers a seven-week program, but differs from Inhale’s in that its pupils receive a general-fitness certification as opposed to a yoga-specific certification.

Those interested in teaching yoga at the fitness center are grouped into a general group fitness teacher-training class and devote time toward the end of the course to receive yoga-specific training, said Marissa Dienstag, interim fitness director at Ping Center.

The class costs $75.

“We do all the basics within that seven-week course and from there (the students) have to shadow whatever form (of group fitness) they want,” Dienstag said.

A person who is certified at Ping has one year after being certified in his or her prep class to receive a national certification, which can vary in price, she added.

Unlike the certification process at Ping, the Inhale program teaches its students a broader yoga-specific course load that focuses on technique, teaching methodology, anatomy and physiology, yoga philosophy and lifestyle and ethics, and includes a practicum portion as well as outside work, said Stobart.

Alex Jeanneret, a 2011 Ohio University graduate from Circleville, Ohio, was certified about three years ago at Inhale while she was still taking classes at OU.

“It was a lot of studying,” she said. “I remember at one point I was taking an Old English class, I was also in Spanish and then we were learning Sanskrits (for yoga). I remember it was like learning three languages at the same time.”

However, Jeanneret said she is happy with her decision to become certified at Inhale while still in school.

“Most places in Columbus, you would spend up to $3,000,” she said. “It wouldn’t be seven weeks long. I would not have gotten workshops with yoga gurus such as Ed Clark. … It was such a vast, comprehensive teaching of yoga.”

Jeanneret added that when her mother, who also teaches yoga, became certified about 15 years ago, her teacher-training class had about 40 or 50 other students. Jeanneret’s teacher-training class at Inhale had about 11 students, eight of whom became certified.

Mary Finney, an Athens resident who finished her teacher-training at Inhale in June, said the classes offered at Inhale are a reasonable price for the training given.

“It’s such a deal,” Finney said. “I mean, you can’t get that (price) any place else nor do I think you can get that kind of training. I’m very much a happy camper.”


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