Take some time to contemplate : What is your understanding of yoga? What brought you to yoga? How has it inspired you? What lessons have you learnt on the mat that you’ve taken off the mat? Has your practice changed? Who are You? What makes you feel happy? How can you be more balanced? How can you make things easier and steadier in your life?
Teaching yoga continually brings you back to your earliest motivations to practise and adds clarity to the first questions you ask yourself about yoga. The more we practise and teach the more we realise there is to learn about ourselves and our life. You can’t get it wrong, it’s all a journey.
200HR TEACHER TRAINING
a GREAT teacher
A SKILLED YOGA TEACHER
A skilled yoga teacher is well trained, they strive to remain current, and maintain a regular practice of their own. They know their stuff, their competence allows them to embody what they are teaching. They can offer good adjustments, both verbal and physical as well as a balance in the amount of instruction they offer, not too much, nor too little and understand the importance of silence. They prepare for their classes and observe their students well enough to teach the students who are actually in the room, even if this means altering their prepared class plan. Skilled teachers produce good results because they meet students where they are, while also inspiring perseverance. They look for and acknowledge progress rather than perfection and they offer the kind of verbal cues and demonstrations that allow students to experience tangible shifts in their bodies. A skilled teacher manages class time well, beginning and ending on time and balances the amount of time spent holding on the left and right sides, and on practicing standing poses and inversions, for example.
They don’t expect a student to be someone they are not or inflate a student's expectation beyond safe levels. They also don’t make students feel inferior, small, or talked down to. An unskilled teacher might make grandiose claims, like the ability to diagnose and cure a student's ailment. Worse yet, an unskilled teacher might convey the attitude that it's "my way or the highway."
A ROLE MODEL YOGA TEACHER
This type of teacher is a role model and example for others. They are both inspirational and down-to-earth. They have boundaries but are also available. They are authentic and so encourage students to be themselves. They follow a code of ethics that helps them move in the world with sensitivity and consideration for others and a high regard for the teacher-student relationship. This teacher embraces collaboration with colleagues and is community oriented. With students and colleagues, and in the larger community, they are warm and caring. Despite these almost saintly qualities, an exemplary teacher is relentlessly real, honest, trustworthy, and fair. (This teacher understands that they are being paid and so wants their students to get extra value for their money.) While some students may want to place this teacher on a pedestal and view them as somehow superhuman, the teacher does not allow it. (Exemplary teachers want to be on mats, not on pedestals!) Without being falsely self-deprecating, an exemplary teacher acknowledges their own foibles. While confident in there role as teacher, they are also always learning through their own challenges.
A not-so-exemplary teacher may be talented and have much to offer as a role model but may hold themselves back and get in their own way, meaning that instead of trusting themselves, they are mired in self-doubt or negative self-talk. Unfortunately, not all yoga teachers are well prepared to serve and give value to students. In some cases, a teacher tries too hard to make a good impression and then ends up coming across as inauthentic. Some teachers act deceptively inside the yoga studio to live up to the yogi image they have created but have a completely different personality outside the studio. Another limitation in a not so-exemplary teacher is neglecting to listen to or understand their students
THE SUCCESSFUL YOGA TEACHER
Everyone has a different definition of success. For our purposes here, I would define a successful yoga teacher as one who is bringing in a consistent and healthy income, is teaching the kind of students they enjoy working with, and has a desired schedule of private lessons and a well-attended schedule of group classes. A successful teacher may also be well known and respected in the community. A teacher who is successful on their own terms takes into account how much money they wish and needs to make and how many students and what types of student they wants to work with. They know their core values and why they have made these choices. Their thinking about these questions helps formulate a clear mission statement. In addition to knowing what kind of success you want, to be successful you’ll also have to take actions and develop habits to make your vision into a reality. Overall, success requires goals, vision, and discipline.
IDENTIFYING AREAS OF POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENT
In reviewing these definitions of skilled, exemplary, and successful teachers, you've probably recognised aspects of yourself and areas where you excel. You also may contemplate changes and improvements you'd like to make in your practice, teaching, and career and the goals you want to pursue. The easiest way to start improving is to highlight some of the qualities listed above that you could enhance, and then take action to fill in the gaps. For example, to become more skilled, would you benefit from training with a different teacher or at a more advanced level? Could you videotape your class so that you can watch yourself and look for ways to refine your teaching? To work toward becoming exemplary, could you be more honest with your students about the fact that you actually do enjoy a glass of wine on occasion, or could you work on building more community and encouraging conversation with students by inviting them on a group outing after class? To consider ways you might become more successful, let's do a more detailed self-assessment and look at how to define your core values, which are the basis of your mission statement and the choices and goals you make for yourself and your career.
One thing I can get excited about today...
If one word could describe the kind of person I want to be today, then that word is...
Someone who needs me on my A-game today is...
Someone I could surprise with a note, gift or sign of appreciation is...
One action I could take today to demonstrate excellence or real value is...
One bold action I could take today is...
If I were a high performance coach looking at my life from a high level, I would tell myself to remember that...
The big projects I have to keep in mind that I want to take on, even if I cant act toward them today, are..
A moment that I really appreciated today was...
A situation or task I handled well today was...
Something I realised or learned today was...
I could have made today even better if I...
Something that could have helped me feel more connected to others today would have been...
If I was my own high performance coach, I could tell myself this statement about today...