Yoga does not change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees. – B.K.S Iyengar
Wishing our Samyak community & readers 2023 brimming with hope, happiness and gratitude. May each of us be encouraged and empowered to live our most authentic selves on and off the mat.
Let’s begin the year’s first blog with two frequently discussed topics among new yoga teachers - what should one look for in a Great Yoga Teacher? And how can a Good Yoga Student evolve into a sincere Yoga Teacher who can guide their practitioners with integrity & compassion?
A thought-provoking two-prong question indeed that helps both seek and set clarity for aspiring practitioners & teachers alike.
While “Good” & ‘Great” are very subjective to each individual and their own set of experiences, there are definitely a few significant qualities that define a teacher who stands out of the clutter in an unforgettable way. Please remember this has nothing to do with large followers on social media, generous marketing budgets or the ability to ace picture-perfect yoga poses.
We’ve listed a few attributes that contribute to assisting you in finding such teachers no matter in which part of the world you are. If you are a new teacher, then it still helps to read further because the purpose of this blog is to align yourself with your students and what they are ideally looking for in a yoga teacher.
As teachers, we guide our practitioners through a set of verbal cues. Communication is an important skill which will help you connect & understand your students. Knowing when to offer a verbal cue, choice of words & timing is crucial.
Clarity of communication accompanied by meeting each student where they are on the mat is a trait that will help you approach each class with confidence.
A committed teacher is always prepared for each class based on the group of practitioners he/she is catering to. However, prepared you are, remember that flexibility & ease of adapting towards the needs of the class at that moment an added assets. Not all days are the same.
Once you sense a dip in energy or response picking a cue from there and adding in props, offering variations or easing the sequence will enable your students to appreciate the practice and offer encouragement.
3. Be Present
While yoga as a practice allows us to enjoy the present moment, it is equally important to emulate the practice of being present while teaching. Whether it is introducing added guidance to individuals in the class, leading the class with flexibility or whatever the situation might be adapting quickly yet intuitively and having the presence of mind to be in sync with your practitioners is vital.
Each class is not about you and how much you know it's about understanding your students and proactively catering to their needs.
A warm & pleasing disposition helps create the right atmosphere for your students to warm up & get comfortable with the practice. From a business perspective prompt responses, discipline and creating a non-judgmental atmosphere helps build a community of dedicated practitioners.
Staying after classes to address queries and hear out your students is necessary. Last but not least don’t forget to address them by their names. These small yet powerful gestures go a long way.
5. No Ego Zone
checking your ego at the door is very important as a yoga teacher. Humbling yourself & treating your practitioners with utmost kindness is most important.
A teacher is always a student first and being open to learning from your students, will help foster new ideas, and feedback & nurture self-growth.
Every student is a gift and teaching is a humbling experience at so many levels.
As teachers, we are all good at what we practice. It is possible to do hard things the hard way, and it is also possible to do hard things the easy way.
Often we get stuck with the former because we don’t trust there could be any other way than believing hard things are hard! Of course, this takes practice much like yoga.
Make space and learn to pause, soften each breath and live your yoga this will give you lightness and renewed energy to lead with grace and ease. May 2023 be the year of learning, inspiration and optimism.