Yoga has been taught, practiced and developed for over 5,000 years, so it’s only natural that it has many different ways of practicing it. However, there are most certainly do’s and don’ts when it comes to teaching it.
Every yoga teacher will start as a newbie at some point and will continue to make mistakes and even keep learning 5, 10, 15 years down the line. We’re all human after all. But worry not! Just avoid doing the following 5 things and you should be safe at the beginning of your journey as a yoga teacher:
1. Don’t own your Students
At first, this may sound like a strange concept, but it’s quite common for yoga teachers to get into a bad habit of thinking they own their students. Being a yoga teacher, mentor, or master of yoga does not mean that your students are yours to own. Your students attend your class to be taught yoga, not to be told what to do.
Not all yoga students will have chemistry with their yoga teacher, and that’s ok – remember, we’re human, and chemistry can’t be forced upon any of us.
When you first take the leap onto your yoga journey as a yoga teacher, there’s a reason you chose to do it and no one imposed it on you. Similarly, your students have chosen to take their own journey in practicing yoga, and your job is to guide them in their journey. Being a yoga teacher is like taking on a support role, supporting those who want to learn; your students aren’t there to praise you or serve you.
Your intention to teach yoga may have come from a desire to heal or improve your own situation, but at one point, you were the student. Being at peace and completely balanced with yourself is the first step to becoming a yoga teacher. Your students aren’t a tool to be used to help you, you are there to help them.
It may seem obvious, but more often than not, yoga teachers bring their own life problems to their class and expect their students to solve them. As a yoga teacher, you will continue to practice yoga outside of your class. Solving your own problems should be done in your own time, not in your student’s time.
2. Don’t request permission to make adjustments
When your students enter your class for the first time, it’s a yoga teacher’s job to understand their individual needs. For example, some people will attend yoga to improve flexibility due to an injury, or they want to improve their confidence, or their own life in some way or another.
Always remember, you are the teacher, and they are your students; you’ve spent a great deal of your life mastering the divine art. So, with the knowledge of any pre-existing conditions, you don’t need to request permission to adjust your student’s poses. If your students are in the wrong position, it’s your job to adjust their position to ensure that they know how to correctly perform the yoga pose.
It’s not your job to ask for permission in order to correct them; that’s why you’re there, to teach them yoga.
3. Don’t try to change too much
When you attended your training to become a yoga teacher, it taught you what you know now. The original yoga roots and its methodology have not changed since then, and neither should you. In any line of work, there will always be ‘new’ ways to do something or adaptations. However, when it comes to yoga teaching, new isn’t necessarily better.
Your own yoga teacher taught you their methodology, and that’s what you should be practicing when teaching your own yoga classes. If you change something in the yoga class that you’ve been teaching for months, years, or even decades, it’s going against your values, and will also throw your students off course.
Sure, you should always keep learning new styles, concepts, etc. But your responsibility is to also keep a consistency. Some of your students may even choose yoga teaching as their own path, of which you’d pass on your own knowledge and lineage to them, in the right way – your way.
4. Don’t allow excuses
It may sound harsh, but the reasoning behind not allowing excuses in your class does make sense. As stated, yoga is the alignment and connection of the mind, body, and spirit, and recent scientific studies have shown that yoga triggers chemicals in the brain that regulate nerve activity.
As a yoga teacher, most classes will have a ‘doors close at a determined time’ rule, to allow for the class to sit or stand together in a quiet, peaceful and tranquil environment before the class begins. This allotted time allows people to arrive on time, relax, breathe, and prepare their mind and bodies for the yoga class.
Unfortunately, situations arise that are out of control; we get stuck in traffic, we lose track of time, or for whatever reason, we can’t make it on time. However, excuses don’t have a place in a yoga class, whether they are genuine or not.
Allowing the disruption of a class, as a yoga teacher, is in your hands. It is your responsibility to ensure that this does not happen. If you’re finding that students are arriving late and being disrespectful by barging in on you and your class, set a new time policy.
There are plenty of yoga studios that outline a list of rules in their studio, or on their website’s. In fact, many yoga teachers and studios use online tools to track their studio’s appointments, rules, and regulations. Make use of these tools yourself, you don’t have to be a technical genius to use many of the free website builders available through various web hosting providers.
Remember, you are the teacher, and you are in control of what you do in your class and how you do it.
5. Don’t forget your own practice
This is such an important thing to remember. Many yoga teachers will practice with their class as their teaching method, and that’s fine – great even. However, more often than not, yoga teachers, because they spend so much time teaching yoga, forget to indulge in their own practice.
When you were learning to become a yoga teacher, did you forget to practice? No, of course not, you were practicing every day.
Yoga is a lifestyle; it’s not a job, it’s not a one-time-thing, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s a state of mind and a spiritual place of being. Many of us will be running from one studio to the other, teaching yoga, and inspiring others. Just remember to make time for your own personal place of practice, after all, that’s where it all started.
Ready to take the next step as a yoga instructor? Sign up for a 500-hour yoga teacher training and deepen your expertise in this ancient practice!
Jann is a guest author from ukwebhostreview.com.