November 25, 2013

4 Things That Yoga Teachers Want to Tell Their Students.

It’s probably not a shock to anyone who knows me, or reads my posts, to learn that I really enjoy teaching yoga.

While it isn’t always all roses, the truth is that I keep on coming back to teaching because I enjoy it. I don’t just like teaching yoga—the truth is, I love it.

This is true for the vast majority of teachers that I know and encounter.

Despite the tales of unscrupulous teachers who are only in it to make money, get a book deal, sleep with their students or some combination of the three, I can honestly say, that they are a teeny-tiny minority, and are not the rule.

While I cannot speak for every yoga instructor out there, the following are four common things that I’ve heard over and over again, regarding what teachers would like their students to know.

1) Be honest with us.

We teach classes for our students. Let us know if we need to adjust more or less, if we need to modify a pose or if we should skip certain poses all together.

We won’t be offended. We aren’t police officers, so if a student choses not to do a pose, or not to do it in the way that it is demonstrated, we won’t be upset.

2) Have fun and lighten up a bit.

Some students come to class looking like they just got called for jury duty.

We want our students to come to class because they genuinely enjoy it and want to be there.

If my students can’t master a pose or—heaven forbid—they fall out of a pose, they should shrug/laugh it off. Everyone has had this happen to them—even yoga instructors (If you don’t believe me, drop in and watch me one morning at Mysore practice).

Yoga instructors don’t laugh or talk about their students after they leave. I promise.

3) Know that we, the instructors, are our students equals.

We aren’t more enlightened because we have “RYT” after our names on the studio website.

Like every other group, we run the gamut from those who try to incorporate all eight limbs of the yoga practice into their lives, to those who have no idea what the eight limbs are even referring to.

Unless we have specific qualifications, yoga instructors aren’t automatically experts in nutrition, relationships or anything else. If a yoga teacher says otherwise, please call them out for it.

4) We greatly appreciate our students and are honored that they come to our classes.

We don’t have a purpose as teachers without our students. Those students that attend regularly (in some cases for years), often come to have a special place in our hearts. We get to know them and in many cases, they come to know us.

Even if we don’t say it every class, we want to thank our students for showing up, and for being themselves. It is an honor.

In closing, while this is not a complete list, these four things come up repeatedly in conversation with my fellow yoga instructors, about our respective students. While many may not realize it, we are there for our students and not the other way around.

Therefore, please know that it is with complete sincerity that we say, “Thank you.”


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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

{Photo: Tiny Tall at Flickr}

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