How to Be an Awesome Yoga Teacher
I’ve taught a lot of not-great yoga classes, y’all.
I’ve lost track of my rights and my lefts.
I’ve told a class to hold their breast instead of their breath.
I have definitely farted in class. While teaching. Very obviously.
Here’s how I survive those moments:
Om before class
On the drive there, and before you walk in the room, give yourself a few rounds of oms to warm up your vocal cords (especially for those 6am classes!) and ground your energy. Go through different tones to hit your full range.
Teach what you know
This is perhaps controversial, but if you have never experienced a pose like pincha mayurasana in your body, don’t teach it to your students.
If you don’t fully understand the physiological effects of khapalabhati, don’t offer it to your students.
If someone told you that viparita karani soothes your central nervous system but you can’t explain why because you don’t know the difference between your sympathetic and your parasympathetic nervous system, don’t offer it to your students.
Teach what you’ve mastered and show what you’re practicing.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t approach those advanced poses when you teach. If you don’t have handstand in your body but you’ve been working on the drills, teach the drills.
It is inevitable that a student is going to get hurt in your class. The more prepared you are as a teacher to teach what you know, the less likely this is to happen.
Don’t take it personally
Did no one show up to your class? Did 100 people show up to your workshop? Did a student walk out early? Did someone say you’re their favorite yoga teacher? Did you overhear someone say they didn’t like your music or your flow or your voice? Here’s the thing: it has nothing to do with you.
I’ve had students walk out when I sub a class. I’ve also had students follow me through 5 different studios.
I’ve had students hurt themselves and tell me they don’t feel safe taking my class. I’ve also had students heal chronic pain by coming to my class regularly.
I’ve taught mat-to-mat classes and accidental privates.
I’ve had tens of students promise to show up for a workshop then…not (this is why I get payment up front nowadays).
I’ve had students balk at paying $26 for a drop in class and clients happy to pay me tens of thousand of dollars for a series of private session.
None of it has anything to do with me. I’m never going to be everyone’s favorite teacher; I don’t want to be anyone’s favorite teacher! I approach each class as a learning experience for everyone involved.
So of course, I learn from all of these experiences, but there’s no benefit to diving into the thought tornadoes of why someone didn’t show up for class.
Teach to the students who are there, not to the ones who are not.