Updated: Aug 26, 2022
While leading Yoga Teacher Training Courses I am often asked these pertinent questions. I’ve compiled a list of popularly asked questions that can be your point of reference when in doubt.
I intend to create more such blogs in the coming months that dispel such misconceptions. If I have missed a frequently faced dilemma that you encounter as a yoga teacher; please drop your question in the comments.
This will be added to the upcoming blogs. Here are 6 Common Myths of Teaching Yoga – debunked.
1. Are you an Asana Teacher or a Yoga Teacher?
There is a clear distinction between the two & it’s a much-debated topic. More often than not all teachers are generally labelled as ‘Yoga Teachers’. It’s important to define who you are & set the context right for you as a teacher and for your students.
Asana or the physical practice is an important limb of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras but certainly does not define the entirety of what yoga is.
Set the context & expectation right from the beginning; there is nothing wrong with being an Asana teacher when you embark on your career.
2. Should you teach only yoga poses that you can do?
The most popular question during TTC. The simple answer is ‘YES’. Almost invariably, the best teachers are the ones who had the most difficulty learning.
a. Start teaching only what you can do that is your Satya (Truth). A teacher can lead the students on a path only on which she/he has experienced. Strive to get better at your practice. As a teacher stays invested with a Guru/Teacher to guide you; because becoming a better teacher always equates to being a better student.
b. REMEMBER – Don’t compare the beginning of your yoga journey to someone else’s; you will always be disappointed. Learn to step out of your comfort zone & challenge yourself as a student of the practice first.
3. How do I handle students better than I am in asanas?
Comparison is the thief of joy! As a Yoga Teacher, you will come across a variety of students from diverse backgrounds & experiences.
Yes, some of them will already be more agile & flexible than you. This does not imply that you are not meant to be a teacher or should feel discouraged.
Accept this fact & show up as your authentic self to connect & make a lasting impact. Be genuinely interested in each of your student’s struggles & challenges; celebrate their victories & offer encouragement with intent.
People will appreciate you for who you are. Lastly, as you are aware, yoga is not an external competition but an inward journey.
4. Can I multitask during my class using it for self-practice too?
No! Your class is meant only for your students. As a teacher, your responsibility is to meet them where they are; this implies that you plan sequences & do your homework to ensure your students experience a wholesome & nourishing class.
Even if that means changing the flow of the class to ensure their needs are met. Carve out daily ‘ME TIME’ for your self-practice, whether you choose to do this under the guidance of your Guru/Teacher or use this time to stay committed to your self-practice.
Start where you are & the practice will meet you there.
5. I am not ready yet to be a Yoga Teacher. I start teaching once I am perfect.
Most often, Yoga students who complete Yoga Teacher Training think they need more practice before teaching. I agree.
There will be many asanas you may not be comfortable teaching as you are not practising well. But yet, it is the right time to start teaching. Teaching is the first step in becoming a proper student.
After 6-8 months of regular practice would bring you so much knowledge that it may become difficult to start teaching.
Though there are many asanas you may not be good at, start teaching right after Yoga Teacher Training.
You will be teaching not because you are perfect but because you are on the path of a lifelong journey of being a student of Yoga.
6. How do I manage students & their expectations?
It is impossible to please & make everyone happy. Remember, students come with various expectations, attitudes, abilities & personalities.
Even though your intentions may be to make everyone happy or answer all the questions they ask.
It’s ok to say you don’t know something. Over time after teaching different practitioners, you will learn how to handle & manage unique situations & perspectives effortlessly.
Like everything else in life, there is no perfection or an instant solution. Use this incredible opportunity to teach diverse students because you will always learn something new.
‘Each student is a gift’ there is so much truth & intent in this statement. Build your community of students by first starting with family & friends across different ages & abilities. Ask for constructive feedback from people you trust & give this time.