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As yoga expands across The World, it is clear that (just like every other industry) it has become tainted by personal gain, greed and mistruths. Not all of it has but, as yoga teachers, it is our duty to uphold and maintain the purity of yoga that allows us to heal and transform ourselves, our students and The World around us.
Ask yourself the following:
1. Is teaching yoga just a job?
For the most part, I have taken class from great teachers; however, I have taken class from a few teachers that lacked passion. It seemed as though they were teaching from a place of mundanity and boredom. Yes, you can make a career out of yoga! But, that shouldn’t be the only reason why you are a yoga teacher. If your intentions are merely about paying your bills, your students will pick up on this and it will be difficult to come across with purity and integrity.
2. Am I teaching to provide healing or to be seen?
A lot of us who came to yoga in The West used to be performers. I, myself, was a singer and dancer. My journey from being the star to being in the background has been challenging as my Ego took a major blow when I realized that teaching was not about me but about my students. Yes, I am responsible for the knowledge that I bring into the studios that I teach at but it’s mostly about the students and providing them space to heal.
3. Am I surrounded by reliable sources who are genuine in their interest in yoga?
The saying, ‘birds of a feather flock together’, is no joke. It is real. Who you spend most of your time with, can and will have an influence on you. That’s why you may visit a studio and hear a few teachers say the same cues in different classes. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you the space to grow as a yoga teacher, remain authentic to yoga and pure to your intentions as a teacher.
4. Am I practicing what I preach?
This may seem simple; however, I have had difficulty really being the change that I wish to see and asking others (who take my class) to do the same. I have learnt that I can’t ask someone else to do something that I don’t know or fully understand. I can’t ask a student of mine to practice ahimsa when I am angry at someone for not being vegan, I can’t ask someone to practice asana if I don’t have the time to practice, I can’t ask someone to practice pranayama when I hold my breath during class, I can’t ask someone to adhere to the niyamas and yamas when I have no moral compass, I can’t speak about stillness if I have not developed a relationship with it myself and I can’t explain what Samadhi is if I haven’t experienced it. Our power as teachers comes from how it has had an impact on our lives and those around us, not on how we think it should.