What makes a really great yoga teacher? This question is, of course, subjective. But, if you think of some of the greats and even some of your humble favorites, you will notice a consistent thread that is woven through their practice. I have attended hundreds of yoga classes, listened to dozens of webinars and conducted my own research on what are the top INVALUABLE things you can do to become a better yoga teacher.
These tips will help you develop your practice and teaching content…
How are you getting your content? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Ideally, you should be sharing your path, your journey and your knowledge from experience. It is very easy (and trendy) to hop from workshop to workshop being taught by different teachers. Although valuable, you should not rely on these as your only source of experience.
For example….. Maybe you’ve always felt this burning interest in yoga mudras. You may have had teachers lead you through chanting meditation or heard other practitioners and students talking about it. A workshop for teaching yoga mudras comes up near your and you JUMP on the oppertunity to learn ‘all’ about it from someone who has done all the research and practice. You might not know it at the time, but this is you taking the easy route. And anyone who knows yoga knows that there is no easy path to anything worth having. So, a couple hundred dollars later, you attend the workshop and soak up everything the teacher says like a good yogi sponge. Maybe you add it the teachings your daily practice and maybe it sticks for a little while. But, unless you continue to research, learn and add in your own experience, then ultimately it will fade out. How are you going to know where to look or what to research if you have never done it before? Sure, you might figure it out and the workshop sparked the motivation to dig a little deeper, but the point im trying to make is:
If you were interested in the first place, what was stopping you from teaching yourself?
We are our best teacher. Take responsibility for that burning interest you had. Type it into google and youtube and go from there. Add it into your daily practice and see how it changes you and your experience. Take notes and learn what works for you. The more you learn, you can start sharing with teachers who also study and share information.
You never know, you could be the one teaching the next workshop on something you found invaluable to your practice out of pure interest and passion.
Trust me, a student can tell the difference between a confident self driven teacher and someone who is simply regurgitating information from someone else’s experience. Don’t rely on other people to build your practice or teaching style. Teaching from your own experience is A HUNDRED times more valuable and well absorbed by practioners.
I have been to hundreds of yoga classes where I am instructed in and out of 50 different poses in a span of an hour and a half. Sure, I felt great after but what did I really gain? Did the teacher add any personal value?..unfortunately, not really.
My favorite classes are when you don’t even notice how the teacher instructed you in an out of the poses, but instead you feel motivated by the pieces of information about how a a twist is helping your digestive system and energize flow. I LOVE learning about what something is doing for me, how it is good for my body, and the benefits from being 100% present and dedicated to it.
BUILD ON EACH CLASS
It can be difficult to hold onto return yoga students! I know this because I have been that transient student that cant always make it to a class even if I’ve promised to be there. Life happens. But, I can say for certainty that the classes I was SURE to make it to, were the ones by teachers who kept us students challenged and growing. They built on every class, paying special attention to each individuals progress level and teaching in a progressive manner.
If you thread your classes together in a workshop fashion you will increase your chances of returning students. You can say how you are going to build on the class you just had and when the next class will be. This adds immense VALUE to your classes and builds loyalty with your students.
Sure, there is a load of things you can do to become a better yoga teacher..but these (for me) are the big three. Take responsibility for your knowledge, teach past instruction and build on each class. These simple but impactful points will enrich your practice and teaching confidence ten fold! Ultimately, reaching more students and assisting them on their own journey with genuine intention and experience.