I’m a very hands on and relaxed yoga teacher. My classes follow the flow of the energy of the class and not the same-samey repetitive weeks I see some other classes doing. This isn’t to say those structured routines aren’t helpful, they just aren’t the way I teach. You may find that some yoga teachers will impose on you deep, enlightening “truths” they heard in a new Audible book, or the latest mindfulness practice they saw on YouTube…but that is not what makes a good teacher in my opinion.
A good teacher, truthfully, is someone who takes the time to listen to you, and reflects back that you are unique in your own beautiful way. Powerful teachers leave their ego and hang-ups at the door, fully remembering it is about the student, not them.
A great teacher will always check in with their students at the start of each class. They show they have creative minds that are open to suggestions and opinions from their students and aren’t stuck in their ways. They are always present, and are always the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave the studio. I would be mortified if I were not the first and last person that the studio saw each day. This is my time to fill the studio with good vibes and gratitude for providing a safe space for all my students.
Most importantly, a good yoga teacher knows that they’re not perfect. I am not perfect. They (and I) accept flaws and work on them — both on and off the mat. Here are five things a good yoga teacher should tell you at some point working with them…
Yoga is about looking within
Yoga is popular for its ability to connect you with your inner self. It’s a time-tested way to find beauty in yourself despite all your flaws. Some people who are on the soul-searching phase find peace on the mat, and a good teacher will help them get to that point. I have had coffee, tea, given a ride, and even stayed late for many of my students. They are my tribe and I really care about each and every one of them.
A good teacher will teach you to be independent by showing you the way to your inner self. It’s all about staying on your own path to bring out the best in you. A good teacher shows you that you can make it on your own and that the real teacher is really, ultimately, yourself. I can only provide you with guidance, you must walk the journey on your own to your true self.
Yoga is about balance – good and bad
A good teacher understands that bad things happen to all of us, and it’s in our hands to see the good in all things despite that. There is a time for happiness, and there’s a time for sadness, too. As someone once told me, you cannot have the light without darkness – yin and yang.
Good teachers will help you realize that bad things happen because these moments of pain will open up room for you to grow and find your best self. They will make you see that darkness will only last so long as you let it. You just have to have faith in yourself.
You own your yoga style
You’re doing yoga because you want to, not because you want your yoga teacher to change you. Good teachers will not ask you to imitate them or their practices. In fact, they will ask you to stay true to yourself, and that they’re just there to guide you in doing so.
Your yoga journey is your way to see how beautiful and amazing you are. Good teachers are there to support and grow with you on your practice. We want to really see you take the foundation of the practice and bloom into your own unique version – whatever that may be.
You are fine the way you are
Good yoga teachers will make you see that you don’t have to change who you are just to find peace or to please everybody. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re clearly not because the only path to true happiness is to start embracing your true self. They will teach you to connect with your own mind, body, and spirit.
A yoga studio is a place where people try to calm their minds and live in the moment. Just be yourself. Remember that everyone else is on a journey just as you are. Use that collective energy to feel whole and prideful about your own special spark.
You are one-of-a-kind
Finally, good yoga teachers will make you see how unique you are. They will tell you that you are one of a kind, and that your own life journey is what makes you different and beautiful.
Good yoga teachers will share their passion and dedication for yoga with you. Good yoga teachers will help you embrace the fact that every little thing happens for a reason, good and bad. Remember that we are ALL flawed, in our own perfectly unique and beautiful way.
Being a yoga teacher comes with a lot of responsibility, apart from just teaching the poses. It is a life-transforming and astounding resolution that enables you to bestow the treasure of the ancient art of yoga to others. We have been trusted and are liable for spreading yogic wisdom, through certification.
Yoga on its own is not only a physical practice, but a lifestyle lived off the mat as well. For many students, connecting with a teacher is the necessary medium to get introduced to this kind of life. To teach yoga successfully in this way, teachers should remember to build and connect with their students individually, so that all parties have an enriching experience. I need the students, as much as they need me and I never want them to forget that.