By Bhavan Kumar, CYT 500
Being a yoga teacher is very rewarding. It’s a job where you get to help people physically and mentally, you can be active and moving throughout the day, and you have flexibility and choice in your work schedule. However, like any job, there are going to be days when it’s hard to get out of bed and enthusiastically greet the day. This doesn’t mean your teaching style and approach has to suffer. By practicing what you teach to your yoga students, you can enthusiastically engage your students even if you are having a rough day. These tips can help you bring your best self to all your classes, whether the day seems bright and sunny or bleary and gray.
Many yoga teachers recommend that their students arrive a few minutes early to calm down and get settled in for a beneficial yoga session. So, why wouldn’t you do the same? Arriving early for your class means you have time to unwind and de-stress before you need to be in teaching mode. Taking a few moments for yourself can help you forget the other worries of the day so you can focus solely on your practice and your students. Even just a few moments spent in quiet meditation or simply setting up the classroom can get you into teaching mode. Take the time to remember why you chose to be a yoga teacher and go through all the reasons you love the practice. Warming up and doing a few of your favorite poses could also help you get physically and mentally geared up for a great session. Your students will notice and appreciate the fact that you can be completely present during class.
Connect with Students
You may have a yoga class all planned out in your mind: you know what you want to say, what poses you will do, and what sequence the class will follow. However, don’t be afraid to change your class based on the vibe you get from your students. Connect with the students and read their body language to see what they can most benefit from. This personalization will make your class a more engaging and invigorating experience for everyone, including yourself. Instead of treating your class as a cut and dry sequence of poses, remember that each class has unique people with unique needs, and you have an opportunity in each one to help and inspire people through your teaching.
If you are teaching yoga, you probably have several years of experience under your belt. Remember that many of the students you teach will be brand new to the practice. You have an opportunity to introduce them to the joy of yoga through your teaching. Be humble and remember that yoga may be a new and even somewhat frightening experience for some of your students. Avoid showing off your own skill; yoga is about personal growth and empowerment, not competition. Treat your students like small seedlings that you can nurture into beautiful blossoms with your compassionate teaching.
Teaching yoga can be so much more than just a job – it is a unique experience that brings many people fulfillment and happiness. However, everyone, no matter how wonderful their job is, can get into a rut sometimes. If you feel like you need a burst of energy for your practice, try these tips before your next session. Remember that at your core, you are someone who loves yoga and wants to share it with the world. You’ll find renewed strength and enthusiasm for what you know you already love, and your students will learn more from your classes and find more joy in the practice.
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