One mistake many yoga teachers make is thinking that they need to come up with something inspiring or interesting to teach about. The truth is we don’t have to “come up with something” to teach about. All we need to do is to look to the practice itself for direction as to what we should be teaching!
We teach what we practice.
The best way to create the meaningful, uplifting yoga classes we wish to offer our students is to study, hone, and live our craft. As yoga teachers, our job is not to fashion something interesting that will feed our students’ worldly senses. Rather, our duty is to hold space for students to remove all of the distractions that prevent them from realizing their inner truth. Our students don’t need us to be fancy. They need us to be real.
The first step in authentically teaching yoga is to ground ourselves in the teachings of the practice. This doesn’t mean we must learn a thousand ways to teach triangle pose! Grounding ourselves in the teachings of yoga is a combination of studying the teachings, committing to being of service, and doing our own personal practice.
How to get grounded to teach yoga:
1. Honor the tradition yoga comes from. Yoga comes to us from India. It was birthed in a culture, community, and mindset very different from that of the modern western world. As western yoga teachers we are the recipients of a great tradition that has withstood the test of time. It is our privilege and responsibility to share these teachings with others in a way that both honors the people from which it comes and is authentic and reflective of our own contemporary experience.
2. Immerse yourself in the teachings of yoga. Studying the sacred yogic texts is an excellent way to cultivate a healthy foundation for practicing-and teaching- yoga! Texts like The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and The Bhagavad Gita teach us how to deeply practice yoga. When we embody the lessons of these texts, we become people who strive for yoga in all of our relationships and life circumstances.
3. Of course, you will want to study with knowledgeable, trustworthy yoga teachers and mentors. However, don’t forget to forge connections with your peers… other yoga teachers walking their walk alongside you! If you’d like to connect with other yoga teachers, try my Facebook group The Yoga Teacher Sanctuary. Click here to join!
4. Reflect on how yoga’s teachings resonate with you. What makes you curious? Where do you notice resistance? Journal about your thoughts and experiences studying and practicing yoga. How we relate to yoga’s teachings is dynamic. It changes throughout our life. What is true for you right now?