April 4, 2013

The Ethics & Responsibilities of Teaching Yoga. ~ Adri Kyser

As yoga teachers, we need to continue to be mindful of the core teachings of this wonderful tradition.

For many, yoga is a sacred practice; while for others, yoga is a physical practice consisting of a series of postures that can help release stress or burn weight.

The study, practice and teaching of yoga is a lifelong journey, during which we have the opportunity to learn from a myriad of teachers along the way. We may encounter some amazing and fantastic yoga teachers—and some not so great ones as well.

The practice of yoga can both heal and harm. Thus, teaching yoga carries a great deal of responsibility.

When teaching yoga, we need to keep in mind the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the individual. Presenting these teachings in a safe and healing environment brings forth true transformation.

When teaching to group classes, we need to consider the overall feeling of the room: the class level, room temperature, cleanness of the space…

Like many professions, yoga teachers also have ethical standards and professional behaviors to follow.

These ethical and professional standards not only refer to the student–teacher relationship; they also refer to integrity, personal behavior, language, monetary compensation, advertising, community service and much more.

I love the saying, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear,” or, “When the teacher is ready, the students will appear.”

During our lives, many of us had a teacher—or series of teachers—that inspired us, challenged us to grow and guided us when we needed it the most. Some of these inspirational teachers may not have been aware of their thankless gift. As a teacher, knowing how much of positive impact you can create is inspiring in itself.

If you or anyone you know has had a negative experience with a teacher, you know how hurtful this can be.

It is so important that all teachers (math, physics, yoga, etc.) remember how we can uplift or deeply hurt someone with our words, actions or lack thereof. Teachers have the power to bring forth or destroy an individual’s sense of security, their talents or personal dreams.

All teachers from all walks of life need to be aware how important it is to create a safe environment where everyone is treated with integrity and respect. The student and yoga teacher relationship is not an exception. The eight limbs of yoga serve as a guide on how to live ethically in this world.

The Yamas and Niyamas offer us a series of guidelines and concepts that can and should be adapted in our daily lives. With constant practice and awareness that our asana (movement/postures), pranayama (breath work) and meditation practices give us, we will be able to reach samadhia state of union with the Divine. We will be able to reach our fullest potential and truly embody what yoga is all about.

As yoga teachers, we need to do our very best to understand and live by these eight limbs to the best of our ability.

We are not simply speaking of concepts, ideals or cueing poses that are separate from ourselves and/or to be used only in class; we are transmitting a way of living, a connection to these principles and offer guidance that is already part of the teacher at all times.

photo: lululemon athletica

A yoga teacher can only guide their students as far as she/he has gone herself in her personal journey. While teaching yoga, we may never know the impact we have on our students. That is why it is so important to come from a place of truth, compassion, honesty and humility.

Many students see their yoga teacher as mentors, especially when the teacher is experienced and/or mature and they have established a positive and trusting student-teacher relationship.

But, what makes a yoga teacher a mentor? You can say that a mentor is someone that has experience and knowledge in a specific field. This transition from teacher to mentor may happen unconsciously but it only happens when the student has absolute trust in the teacher and is seeking knowledge, growth and guidance from this more experienced source.

Whether your students see you as a teacher, their maha teacher or as a mentor and friend, the opportunity to empower, encourage and make a difference in their lives is a gift that we should all appreciate, respect and give thanks for.

Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you.”

Adri is an international Vinyasa, Prana Flow yoga teacher, and Power Pilates instructor with many years of experience. Thanks to her extensive studies and continuos trainings, she has created a unique approach on how she teaches yoga. Her welcoming and caring approach will inspire you on and off the mat. Adri’s mission is to help you awaken and reconnect with your inner beauty helping you live your life to your fullest potential.
Adri travels the globe leading master classes, retreats and numerous teacher trainings. In addition, Adri is one of the few yoga teacher approved by Shiva Rea to lead Prana Flow modules in the US and abroad. Adri has been featured in online and printed ads for Athleta, Ahnu Shoes and Manduka. Her work has also been featured in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, and Origin Magazine. You can take some of her amazing classes at YogaVives.com and LearnItLive.com.
You can find Adri sharing her passion for yoga and inspiring others by leading workshops, teacher trainings and retreats. For more information please visit www.innerbeautyyoga.com.


Like elephant Yoga on Facebook.

Editor: K.Macku/Kate Bartolotta

Read 3 Comments and Reply

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant journal  |  Contribution: 1,375,490