vinyasa yoga certification programBy Faye Martins

There have been times when it has been stated that yoga teacher ethics were just a matter of common sense. Teachers have seen the looks in an intern’s eyes, when the lecture starts. The intern’s eyes tell me that he/she is thinking, “What’s the big deal?” with respect to teacher ethics.

Yoga instructors are the guiding lights for all students interested in learning yogic methods. Teachers operate under a series of ethics and moral guidelines. These guidelines are designed to help them teach yoga fairly, kindly, and morally. Yoga is a form of recreation guided by the key scriptures of kindness, compassion, generosity, tolerance, patience, helpfulness, forgiveness, and purity.


Walking the Talk 

As a result, yoga instructors need to reflect these ethical stances in their teaching practice. A teacher may not constantly live up to these ideals in their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, we are human and we make mistakes. However, instructors must do whatever they can to promote these ideals through their teaching methods.

A good teacher understands that yoga is a noble path of life, with an extended history of highly successful teachers. They must align their behavior and their teachings with these teachers. Successfully promoting the values of yoga can help teachers reach their students on a deeper level, beyond the physical benefits of the postures.

For example, imagine you are a yoga student, and your teacher swears at you as you struggle with a Downward Dog Pose. His or her lack of patience will greatly disturb your mental well-being. It may even cause you to become resentful of your yoga teacher and to harbor feelings of anger, grief and angst.

A successful yoga instructor will tolerate the mistakes of others in the classroom. If a teacher must criticize a student, they should do it fairly. They should never make fun of the student or their attempts at practicing a yoga technique. Instead, they should gently focus on the facts and give solutions that help a student to learn. Whenever you spend time with a great teacher, you learn how to improve yourself, surpass an obstacle, or modify a technique.

How do we Apply Ethics in our Classes?

Yoga teachers must also respect the physical “bubble” around their students. Slight, brief touches, are acceptable for correction purposes. The teacher must respect a student if they don’t tolerate being touch