Perhaps you have been fortunate to have studied yoga under a wonderful teacher whose lessons have remained with you long after you left your mat. One that has demonstrated not only physical techniques but also ways to live your life with more purpose, presence, ease and mindfulness.
It does seem that as yoga has increased in popularity and become ‘mainstream’ that there are literally hundreds of yoga teacher training courses you can do and be instructing a class within 6 months. While we celebrate that practicing yoga is accessible to one and all, it is wise to remember that yoga is far more than achieving a headstand or perfecting the triangle pose. What you get out of a yoga class depends primarily on how you connect to your teacher and upon the skill-sets that your teacher has. If you have been taught by someone who demonstrates the below qualities you are fortunate; and if you have ever considered becoming a teacher of yoga it is very much worth investigating and finding a teacher who embodies what you desire to embody. Here is what a true yoga teacher will be; if you are seeking a teacher or considering becoming one yourself please reflect on the below qualities before you make your choice.
Being a yoga teacher is not about demonstrating the perfect, most difficult poses. It is about connecting with each student, being passionate, compassionate, sharing knowledge and helping students explore a connection with themselves.
A talented yoga teacher aims to empower students and improve the quality and potential of their lives.
In a class, a talented yoga teacher is sharing their own practice. The class is not about them. It is about being calm, centred, enthusiastic and a humble servant to others.
A good yoga teacher makes everyone feel comfortable and has an impact on each student so they feel like they belong. Every good yoga teacher will touch the heart of their students in some way.
Good yoga teachers teach yoga to become better students themselves. By teaching, the yoga teacher aspires to higher purpose and gets to extend these qualities beyond their classes. A good yoga teacher enables a space for their students to also experience their own journey to live higher purpose character traits.
A good yoga teacher doesn’t need to prepare or adhere to a strict protocol in their yoga classes. They search for the needs of their students and teach to fulfil these needs—sometimes presenting challenging classes, sometimes presenting more inward and relaxing classes, sometimes more technical, sometimes more complex, not too fast, not too slow.
A good yoga teacher considers themselves to always be a student with a beginner’s mind (shoshin)—they grow from their teaching.
Good yoga teachers help students to feel a new connection with their inner selves to give themselves more peace, calmness, love and joy—and that in turn leads to a broadening of their divinity within. If yoga practice focuses on conforming to the ideal of a posture, it can lead only to a greater identification with the body, rather than the connection with their inner self.
In yoga nidra, a great yoga teacher integrates the students’ minds with their bodies—for the students, it may be relaxing to be in this position but it is not a time for sleep. This is the time for yoga.
A great yoga teacher uses four qualities in their classes:
- A focused sensing of every student’s physical, mental and emotional needs
- The ability to clearly present and demonstrate the physical and mental qualities of yoga teachings
- The emotional connection to all their students to generate enthusiasm, motivation and passion for the yoga life
- The use of intuition to see into the lives of their students and direct them to the sweeter physical and mental path of their lives.
In a great yoga class, students often leave smiling and saying, “Thanks, that’s just what I needed.”
Bill Giles has been focused on the yoga life for 43 years and has directed the Samyama Yoga School for 25 years. He has had an ongoing interest in martial arts since his early teens, and is an accredited sensei in traditional Okinawan Goju-ryu karate. Bill has practiced oriental osteopathy for more than 40 years, acupuncture for 37 years, zen shiatsu for 25 years and corrective exercise for 50 years. Bill was a member of the Rosicrucian Order (AMORC) for 21 years . He has published five books on yoga including a practical interpretation of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
Bill invites you to become a qualified Samyama yoga teacher and acquire the qualities that make a good yoga teacher. He is offering a one-time 12-month comprehensive Samyama yoga training course starting in February 2016. Contact us for more information and express your interest today.