Being an advanced yoga practitioner doesn’t make you an advanced teacher. There is a big difference between knowing something and being able to explain and transfer that knowledge to students. When practicing yoga, you don’t think about small details of how you do your asanas anymore, you just know.
Therefore, it is important to follow a good yoga teacher training course that teaches you how to give proper instructions and cues. You will also need to learn proper alignments for different body types and how to give personal corrections to these people.
Most people get confused between their role as a teacher or an instructor. An instructor is someone who simply provides or explains instructions to do an asana or exercise. Mostly an instructor will stand in front during most of the class and demonstrate the asanas for students to follow. An instructor is more concerned with what to do and how to do it, and will follow a set pattern, sequence or instructions during the class.
Whereas a yoga teacher is more concerned with helping each student meet their goal of coming to the yoga class. A teacher is aware of each student’s personal goals. He or she is aware of the strengths as well as the challenges of each student, and offers guidance on how to improve. A yoga teachers walks around the class watching, helping, correcting and adjusting the students. You should make a clear choice about which you wish to be.
Many people are afraid to start teaching because they think their personal practice is not good enough. Don’t forget that everybody has some limitations in their bodies. Some people are very flexible but lack strength, some people have strength but lack flexibility, and some have both but lack balance and concentration. Every yoga teacher has difficulty with certain poses.
My best teacher was the one in a wheel chair, but his knowledge and teaching methods made up for that. It is much more important to know the alignments of the asanas and their benefits and to be able to explain this very clearly to the students than it is to be able to do all the asanas perfectly. Most of the students understand this and don’t expect their teacher to be a super asana performer.
You cannot teach anyone anything until they start to trust you. Humans are curious and sceptical by nature. We can’t help it. Be prepared to be judged and watched by your new students in their first classes with you. They want to see what you do, how you walk, sit and talk.
Even when your students have to close their eyes, you can be sure that at least some of them are still looking at you to see what you are doing. It is important to be aware of this and to keep maintaining professional posture and attitude during the whole class. Once they trust you, they will feel comfortable around you and will not mind if you make mistakes.
Many people assume that they cannot live just by teaching yoga, and think they need to have a “real” job along with it. This could be true if you are not a good teacher or do not have the necessary extra skills.
Yoga teaching can be a very comfortable and satisfying career for those who are professional, have a clear vision, know their subject, have the skills of communication, marketing and actually care for their students. There is a shortage of teachers like these, so if you are ready to develop yourselves into this role, the sky is your limit.
Though yoga is actually a spiritual practice, you don’t have to be very spiritual or a highly evolved person to be a yoga teacher. You can just be an “Yoga Asana Teacher.” Most of the people practice yoga as physical exercise and don’t care about the spiritual aspects in the beginning.
This is a Re-Post and for the original article, please visit YogiApproved.com
Ram Jain (ERYT 500) is the founder of Arhanta Yoga Ashrams.
He teaches professional Yoga teacher training courses in India & The Netherlands. Since 2009, he has trained over 3000 yoga teachers.