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Teaching Yoga: The Path to Being A Yoga Teacher

by Pradeep Kumar

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Now that you have been hit by the yoga wave, your only desire is to be an integral part of the yoga community. Not just as a member, but as someone who intensely participates in ‘spreading the word’. You do not just wish to practice yoga, but you also want to promote the magical essence of yoga by teaching this wonderful art form to others. 

“Yoga is for everyone, but not everyone can teach yoga.”

Reflecting on the above statement further, it is imperative to point out that it takes a certain set of qualities, skills and attributes for a person to become a successful yoga teacher. If you are missing these skills, then you are missing major steps to becoming a proficient yoga guru.

Now, the question arises – Are these skills inbred? Or, are these skills imbibed?

It is true that certain ‘in-bred’ qualities of a human nature indicate whether they can be a good teacher or not. However, there is no skill in this world that cannot be enhanced or imbibed from scratch. It takes a lot of practice and dedication on the part of an aspirant, but the goal can be accomplished with perfection.

The crucial talk of the subject revolves around “What it really takes to become a yoga teacher?”

In a multitude of exploration and foregoing solutions, pathways, etc. it is necessary to make a selection, plan a route that assuredly leads the aspirant to their destination.

What should that path be? Let us discuss the steps in detail:


Ask Yourself ‘Why’?

Yoga teacher training course

The primary step of this entire process design is to get a crisp, honest answer to “Why do you want to become a yoga teacher?”

Is it because you feel it is a great art form, you love practicing it and would love to promote it further?

Is it because a known friend of yours is a yoga guru and you want to give them some kind of competition?

Or is it because it just appears sexy (which it does), invigorating and you would not mind giving it a shot?

Yoga is a great art form, not easily attainable and it definitely comes with its own set of struggles. It demands mental and physical commitment on your part. Hence, it is necessary to acknowledge that you pursue it only if the science thrills you, and you feel immense dedication, as well as passion for it. Else, you would just end up resenting it.


Before Heading Down The Path, Develop A Routine.

Once you have affirmed that you wish to go down this road and are ready to commit yourself to becoming a good yoga teacher, it is time to prep-up your body for it. From now on, it is going to be all about yoga, yoga and yoga.

Like any other profession that consumes most of your closet space in life, yoga would demand the same. However, there would always be a major difference between these two—the former one devours you mentally, while the latter replenishes you spiritually as well as physically.

Start with living a standard routine that every yoga teacher follows. Develop a dedicated habit of waking up with the sun and going to bed by 9 pm at night. Every morning, indulge in self-practice for a couple of hours before heading out.

Let go of all the body demolishing substances like alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, fat, dairy, red meat, etc. And, start with a healthy, nutritious diet from today (preferably, vegan).


Be Ready To Put Your Body to Test -- Both Physically and Mentally    

Eagle pose, yoga

Yoga practice tests your physical and mental abilities as a human being and requires you to push further, go beyond the normal parameters. A number of renowned yogis and successful yoga teachers have put their body through a good deal of pain, both physical and mental, in order to attain this art form with perfection. It is advisable to prepare yourself by toughening your body and training your mind to sustain any physical discomfort or pain that arises from the rigorous training and practice of yoga. You have to establish yourself in that position so you are mentally and physically capable to handle a class full of students who might be experiencing what you too had experienced at a certain point in time. 


Do Not Mind Cutting Back A Little

Although choosing the profession of becoming a yoga teacher is mentally, physically and spiritually satisfying, it is not really the most financially stable career option to pursue. It is possible that you would be taking classes, shredding yourself through the entire week, (sometimes, on weekends too) and yet you would be making bare minimum pay. As a yoga teacher, it is possible that you might have to give up the lavish lifestyle you have lived or aspire to build and be comfortable with living in adverse conditions when time calls for it.


Research for Your Style

Ashtanga yoga session

Yoga is an ocean of knowledge with a number of styles, categories, sub-categories to choose, practice and attain. Know your kind of style by exploring mini sessions of the respective yoga styles you have an inclination for. And, select the one you would like to specialize in as a professional.  


Get Certified

Once you have picked a yoga style, it is time to get a valid certification in it by a recognized governing body. Yoga Alliance is one such body that awards certification to all its students who successfully fulfill the curriculum of their yoga teacher training programs. Upon gaining a certificate from Yoga Alliance, you shall be eligible to teach yoga in any part of the world. Get enrolled in a registered yoga school that awards Yoga Alliance certification on successful completion of their YTTC program.  


Choose Whether You Want to Take a Job or Launch a Studio or Work As a Freelancer

Now, that you are a certified yoga teacher, decide where you want to go next. Do you wish to apply for a job in various yoga studios? Do you vision the launch of your own yoga studio now? Or do you wish to work as a freelancer and travel all over the world? The chosen answer would measure the next step for you. 


Give an Impressive Class

Hanumanasana pose

Once you are ready to take your class, conduct every class with enthusiasm, passion and precision. It is necessary that you make a strong impression on your students so you build a good reputation. Reputation is the core element that shall take you forward from here as a yoga teacher.


Always Follow a Strict Code of Conduct

Apart from giving an impressive class, it is advisable that you maintain decorum in the class by following a strict code of conduct for yoga classes. As part of your profession, you shall come across the need to touch your students in order to demonstrate each pose for perfection. This becomes a necessity, especially in Adjustment and Alignment yoga classes. It is advisable that you only touch the student with your fingertips and maintain at least a foot long distance between your body and the student’s. Conduct your classes with dignity, respect and ethics.


Be Patient And Have Faith. Always.

Yoga class

Patience is important. As a yoga guru, your body shall be accustomed to handling as much physical stress as possible. However, it would not be the case with all your students. Each student comes with their own flaws and compliments. You would be expected to spot those and deal with each of them accordingly. Also, there would be students would might be mostly incapable of performing the postures well, even after prolonged practice sessions. An ideal solution is to keep practicing and to continue to help them deliver the best of their potential.

These guidelines shall help you design a realistic path for yourself as a yoga-teaching aspirant.  So, keep moving and strive to make the next day better than the previous one.

All the best!

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