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I live in the ‘capital’ of Western yoga, Los Angeles. There are a ton of yoga studios and, therefore a ton of yoga teachers. These days, it is cool (particularly if you are in entertainment) to become a yoga teacher. However, teaching yoga can be challenging.
As I live in LA, I have taken a ton of classes taught by many different yoga teachers. I am not a pro, nor shall I be (in this lifetime); however, I have been practicing for over a decade and can speak from my heart about what spoke to me when I took, and still take, class from other teachers as a student:
1. Believe what you are saying.
When teachers believe what they are saying, it allows the students to trust them. It’s just like when you go to a doctor’s office and the doctor is stuttering and unsure, the patient doesn’t feel taken care of. As yoga teachers, we are dealing with people on a healing level, our students need to trust us. That means taking responsibility for what you know and believing that what you say matters because, it does!
2. Speak from the heart.
When a teacher lets their guard down and shares a bit of their heart, students respond well to this. Particularly because a student could’ve chosen to take someone else’s class but chose to take yours. Remind them of that. They deserve more than just words, they deserve words with love. When you soften up, they soften up- which allows for a more meaningful practice than just dialogue.
3. Know what you are talking about.
I am a firm-believer that yoga teachers should know the body. The way that we teach yoga in The West may be different to how they teach yoga in The East; however, aspects of how the body works still apply to both. When I learnt the body, I grew as a student and teacher because I was able to relate to my students on a deeper level, particularly students with injuries. I developed a broadened view of what they should like as opposed to what they look like.
4. Be true.
When I first started teaching, I was told by a senior teacher of mine that I was similar to another senior teacher. The other teacher, who I was told that I resembled, was sassy and a little bit rude. I emulated her a bit until I realized that I was coming off too strong. I realized that just because the other teacher and I are similar, does not mean that we are the same person. I can still be true to who I am as a person and teach, confidently.