Become A Better Yoga Teacher


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…

RESPONSIBILITY!

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. 

TEACH

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. 

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Kala Bhairav Mantra To Turn Bad Times Into Good


Kala Bhairava is a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva. ‘Kala’ represents Dark Times. ‘Bhai’ represents Fear. ‘Rav’ represents Destroyer. So, in all, Kala Bhairava destroys the Dark times and the fear generated from it. When worshiped and called upon, God Kala Bhairav bestows the worshiper with his blessings to turn the Good times. He helps devotees fruitfully utilize their time in securing their goals. This is the reason why he is knows as the Lord of Time. Wasting time in trivial pursuits can be diverted towards a constructive purpose, if one offers prayers and chants the name of Bhairava. He purifies souls with his sheer power and makes odds for favorabe believers.
It is widely believed that Kala Bhairav can solve most of the problems which are pending for a long time.  
To be successful in life more or less boils down to being at the right place at the right time. If we fritter away our time on useless pursuits and can not remember what we did then we are essentially offending Lord Kaala Bhairav. Time lost is lost. Wasting time is tantamount to insulting Lord Kaala Bhairav. If we are mismanaging time and wasting it on frivolous pursuits it is necessary that we worship Lord Kala Bhairav to help us better utilize time towards a constructive end. The direct benefit would also be that you will miraculously be at the right place at the right time when opportunities come knocking. He can bestow good or favorable time on the seeker.

Who can benefit from Lord kaala Bhairav worship:

  • Inability to think or act constructively with the end result being that every activity results in wasting time (mental paralysis is what I would call it)
  • Students spending lot of time in their education still not able to read anything constructively and unable to score.
  • Those working spending enormous amount of time to do the simplest of tasks
  • Facing too many hurdles due to every task taking too much time to accomplish. Lord of Time is unhappy and hence every mole becomes a mountain. eg. If you are doing grocery shopping – some item on the list is unavailable and you end up visiting 4 stores on different part of the town and what should be done in 2 hours takes 6 hours.

“OM SHRI KALA-BHAIRAVAYA NAMO”

“OM HRAAM HREEM HROOM HRIME HROUM KSHAM KSHETRAPAALAAYA KAALA BHAIRAVAAYA NAMAHA”

“OM KAALAKAALAAYA VIDMAHEY KAALAATHEETHAAYA DHEEMAHI THANNO KALLA BHAIRAVA PRACHODHAYAATH

It is understood that there are 64 forms of Kala Bhairava that can be worshipped; these are grouped into 8 each. They are:

  1. Asidanga Bhairava: Gives creative ability
  2. Guru Bhairava: Divine educator
  3. Chanda Bhairava: Gives incredible energy, cuts competition and rivals
  4. Kroda Bhairava: Gives you the power to take massive action
  5. Unmatta Bhairava: Controls negative ego and harmful self talk
  6. Kapala Bhairava: Ends all unrewarding work and actin
  7. Bhishana Bhairava: Obliterates evil spirits and negativity
  8. Sahara Bhairava: Complete dissolution of old negative karmas

CHANTING MANTRAS

I empathize with you if you are someone overwhelmed, intimidated and slightly unsure about the practice of chanting ‘mantras‘.

I remember getting my first set of Mala beads…My teacher asked me what my favorite mantras were – I didnt even know one and I was pretty embarrassed. Hello, imposture syndrome!

I was lucky to have experienced, brave and open minded teachers who would lead chants at the beginning of class as a way to connect mind to body and set powerful intentions. I thoroughly enjoyed singing these chants but only experienced it within the walls of the studio or with some of my Indian friends. With time and a daily asana practice I slowly began to understand more and open myself up to mantras and how powerful they can be. But it wasn’t until I found myself in a moment of desperation that I sought them out myself.  


I was traveling around and living in Thailand at the time.  I had about $7CAD left in my spending account and I was out of options. I had money saved in a separate account but this was being held hostage for my trip to India where I was going to be taking my 200hr TTC in Dharmasala. But, I still had 5 weeks left in Thailand and I was shitting stress balls.  The more I kept trying to make money with things I didnt want to be doing, the less energy I had to use for my yoga practice and studies. I tried massage, writing, personal training, coaching and even thought up new apps I thought would do well. Nothing clicked.

I knew with out a doubt I wanted to share yoga and that I had all the tools and knowledge at my fingertips- but I still needed my TTC. I was able to get a few subbing positions as a yoga teacher but that was hardly reliable and paid very little. I wanted to 10X my yoga buisness but I felt pretty stuck, limited, and at the mercy of time.

After weeks of high stress my body ultimately started to go a little haywire on me.  My skin started breaking out, I wasnt sleeping well anymore, I was getting wicked headaches and I had zero interest or energy to do anything. To be honest, I felt pretty defeated and useless – I could feel myself slipping into a negative pattern of discouraging self talk and although I recognized the feeling, I had no idea how to catch myself.

I got to my mat one day and my entire body was tight, stiff, painful and heavy.  Nothing was working and even though it had only been 2 days, I felt like I hadent practiced in months! That night I had a long, hard talk with my amazing partner.  He could not only see how much stress I was going through, but reminded me (once again) that I was not alone and that I had his support. We decided that I should drop everything that wasnt exactly alligned with what I wanted to be doing.  That meant giving up writing $20 articles that would take me 5 hours each to write for a medical website (my only source of income at the time) and just focus on studying yoga and practicing….I am one lucky woman to have his guiding support because its exactly what I needed.  

I came home that night and went straight to youtube.  Michael was on his computer and must have seen something because he said “Mantras” outloud and with zero context.  This sparked something in me.  I opened up the Ashtanga opening and closing mantras and sang it to him- something I had never done in front of anyone before.  After that I started looking up mantras I was familiar with from practicing in my old studio.

As cliche as it sounds, the rest really was history.  I woke up the next morning early and with a new found vitality.  I was excited to meditate and chant mantra and did so with out hesitation.  

My first chant was calling to Kala Bhairava.  It was easy enough to pronounce and remember, and I resonated with it instantly.  I stayed in meditation for 30 minutes. The only reason I got up was because of the dozens of ideas floating around in my head about what I wanted to do for my yoga buisness.  My spirits felt lifted, I had a clear direction and focus and I wasnt engaging in any negative self talk.  Needless to say, I will definitely be continuing with the mantras and learning all I can about the Demi Gods.  

I cant praise enough how much chanting has enriched my meditation, my daily life, my focus and my yoga practice on and off my mat. I will share my tools and research if you are someone looking for a little extra help in your life.

If you have any questions or comments PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to hear your journey and answer any questions you have.