I chose to have my career as a yoga instructor. There is a lot that goes into it and it constantly develops an array of skills and parts of myself, such as public speaking, my creativity, and courage. It continually motivates me to show up in the present moment too.
There is so much to this beautiful job, but what really qualifies us to teach yoga is simply that we continue to practice yoga. We must practice what we teach. We also must really love people.
Like any other mission, or purpose in life, it can present challenges, but as yoga teachers if we are humbly willing to show up to the moment, focus on growing and healing ourselves, and do all that we can to be of service to our community, this is such a rich profession. It is a great honor to be of service and inspire people back to their true nature and back to joy.
One goal of teaching yoga is to assist others in the experience of yoga, guide them towards enlightenment, a more liberated consciousness, and freedom from attachment and separation. If we are teaching yoga we have probably experienced moments of this bliss in our personal practice, and we want to share it with everybody. The more present we are to our every moment, the easier it becomes to facilitate and guide the yoga experience for others.
Yoga is a unique experience that feels different for each of us. As teachers, instead of micromanaging the experience for each student, we can instead inspire practitioners to show up to the practice, presence themselves, and heal. When a heart opens and softens in the yoga practice you know it, because if you are teaching yoga, you remember how the practice opened, and softened your heart. We are all capable of this feeling. But we cannot rush it. We strive with patient endurance. We always bring it back to love. You can create this kind of feeling for your class as a yoga teacher, or whatever feeling you want to facilitate.
It is important to set the tone for the class. We want our students to trust and listen to us, so the best way to establish trust is to be consistent.
Simple things, like starting and ending class on time. This shows your students that you honor their time. The schedule is the time commitment we all agree to, stay with the schedule.
Also, if you commit to a class, commit. Don’t sub the class out often. You may lose students if you are not there. It takes time to build a class, a community. It takes time to build the trust to start to guide the exploratory education offered through the practice.
Show up to your own life and keep it simple and happy. If you are a stress ball in your personal life your yoga students will probably feel it. We as yoga teachers get under the energy and inspire our class to feel something, something within themselves. As teachers of yoga we can plant the seeds of wisdom and nurture those seeds through the sharing the ancient teachings of yoga. The 'scriptures' of yoga are hip these days too! They are just as profound today as they were thousands of years ago.
When we can take the teachings of yoga and relate it to our life, we can better communicate the consciousness that naturally arises from the practice of yoga.
The best thing we can do as yoga teachers and as yogis is to be authentic and show others our own lives working for us.
To be a teacher of yoga, you do not have to have a teacher certificate or teach classes in a yoga studio. You can teach to your loved ones, your co-workers, just by living it, practicing yoga, and sharing it if you feel inspired.
For example, show your children while you are in traffic running late to the next event, how you take a few deep breaths, and remain calm and happy. Show them how you can presence your self to all that arises, side step the drama of emotional escalation, and act in accordance to your values. Talk to them about your experiences with life. Tell them your goals, what you are working on to better your self, show them humility.
Another example is at work, we can teach yoga to others by our ability to stay present and calm under pressure, by our ability to receive feedback with gratitude and humility, and through showing kindness to our co-workers. People feel it when we practice yoga, and it inspires them too to show up, and hold their own. All of us practicing yoga are teaching yoga in some way.
If you're on the path as a yoga teacher, know that you make a real difference in people's lives, whether or not you always feel it, and let that alone keep you motivated and inspired in sharing this practice with others.
By Shannon Connell
Shannon is a certified Jivamukti, Power, Yin, Hot Yoga, and Mindfulness Meditation Instructor, Usui and Karuna Reiki Master Teacher, and Registered Psychotherapist. She honors the interconnectedness between All-beings and All-things and is passionate about participating and supporting her community in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. You can visit Shannon and learn more through her website, www.shannonconnellhealth.com.
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