13 November 2017

On being a yoga teacher

                        Lotus, Natural, Water, Meditation, Zen

about me......

I've taught yoga for most of my life. I still do. By choice, I did cut down on the number of classes that I taught each week, a few years ago.

Because teaching classes, which usually means physical yoga, postures and relaxation, is not what I am about, as a yoga teacher. I did that for years, and of course, I still do teach that way. Because that is what people want. And it makes sense to follow what one's clients actually do want.

But my forte is very deep spirituality, which, I must confess, is not what most people are looking for. And, of course, there is also the misconception that one can just google a subject, read about it, and thereby be an expert on it. Which is not how we really gain true knowledge.

                            Image result for royalty free yoga photos

now about you.....

If you are looking for work as a yoga teacher and you want to teach, for example, advanced pranayama (breathing practices) and strong meditations, you need to do three things. It might not be strong pranayama and meditations, it could be flow yoga, Iyengar yoga... whatever.

first steps for specialising in yoga:
  • go and learn from someone who knows their subject well. It just isn't the same learning out of books, or using you tube. I have listened to many 'experts' spouting off about this and that, without them actually walking their talk. 
  • practice what you learn. Regularly. It doesn't have to be a long practice, it just needs to be regular.
                    Image result for royalty free yoga photos

secondly, when you have finished training:
  • get some classes going. Anywhere. It could be at a gym, in a hall, in someone's home, or at a yoga studio. Actually, this is the hard part. It can take quite a while to get classes up and running.
  • never underestimate the value of having to teach in different types of settings. A really good yoga teacher, in whatever area, is able to teach a wide variety of people, with differing needs, differing levels of ability. Teaching in different places will give you skills that are invaluable.
  • for this reason, wait until it's appropriate before you teach your specialty. To be honest, you will never be able to introduce your forte to some people, and that's okay. A good teacher is not dogmatic, and can adjust whatever and wherever. 
  • start at the level that your students are at, whether it is beginners, strong athletic moves, holding poses... whatever! When we want to teach in a specific way, after training, it isn't always possible, so do what's needed, and how it is needed.
  • only teach what you know. Teaching actually increases our knowledge. Be observant as you teach.
  • so the message is... build a good foundation. Teach where and how you can.
  • teach good yoga, and gradually introduce your field that you want to specialise in. Introduce gradually, and slowly. Take your time. Make it enjoyable. For example, use this easy pranayama to introduce both pranayama and meditation. People love this technique, it's so do-able for everyone.
  • If you are wanting to specialise, you do need to be an expert at whatever aspect it is. And the only way to be an expert, is by doing it yourself. Consistently. Learn all the ins and outs.
  • Develop your own knowledge from simply being a dedicated practitioner. This is how one becomes an expert. By doing.
  • live the knowledge. Keep it to yourself, don't boast. People will start to want to do whatever you are doing that is making you happy. We all want that inner essence that comes from spiritual practices.
  • there are a lot of "experts" out there, who actually aren't as knowledgeable as they think. Ignore what they write and say, and keep on practising.
  • start at beginner level, and work upwards with yourself. Some of your students may prefer to always stay at beginner level.
  • learn how to adapt things for your students. Contra-indications. Benefits. What to do, and when to do it. What you need to do, to round things off.
Never underestimate the rewards of practice, dedication, and sincerity. These will serve you well in all areas of your life, not just spirituality.

If you have any queries, please leave them in the comments section, and I'll get back to you.