Updated: Jul 15
Okay…here’s the truth and the WHOLE truth - when it comes to yoga teachers, they are a dime a dozen (okay that phrase may not work in Australia but it’s the first one that came to mind - you get the gist!)
Once upon a time yoga teacher trainings were something that were embarked upon as a personal journey of discovery over the period of at least one year but usually two, this immersion into yoga was a way to embody the teachings and help pave the way to potentially teaching and sharing this great practice with others.
Nowadays, yoga teachers are being churned out after just one month or a handful of weeks training, and that’s not to say that these teachers don’t have something to offer the world, without a doubt they do ~ the world definitely needs more yoga!
But there are differences between being a yoga teacher and being a GREAT yoga teacher. I love using the pizza analogy when it comes to teachers…you’ve got the $10 special then you’ve got the specialty wood-fired version! I know which one I’m having…and I’m willing to travel for the experience! The teachers I practice with live central or south of the river, so I’m often travelling an hour on top of practice for the experience of being held by my teacher.
I just finished up teaching a weekend of Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra for other teachers to deepen their knowledge, and while I rarely trump my own horn, one piece of feedback I received was that I was ‘generous’. Wow! What an incredible compliment. I have honestly never thought of myself in this way. It was equally heart warming and humbling.
It really got me thinking - what makes a yoga teacher GREAT ? So after spending some time contemplating the teachers that I know and love, these are five qualities of a great yoga teacher, of course it’s not extensive, nor is it right or wrong - it’s just the tip of the iceberg! (Are you loving my cliche and analogies today by the way?!)
Our own practice forms the foundation of our teaching; self practice is the means by which we continue our study of yoga, which is always evolving. And this is part of staying connect to source, to the richness of practice.
This is the very first of the Yoga Sutras as laid out by Patanjali. A great teacher never claims to know all and does not seek validation in attempting to put themselves on a pedestal, instead teaching to the individual students’ ability.
Teach what you know and have the humility to know what you don’t. And remember to laugh at yourself. You’ll never master right and left!
A skilled yoga teacher observes the individuality of each practitioner, adapting the practice to suit the person, not the yoga asana. This teacher needs to have a keen eye of observation, understanding the language of the body beyond anatomy and prescriptive postures.
A teacher who values their own experience of learning through yoga seeks to share that same knowledge and wisdom with other students. Rather than having students become dependent on the teacher, they teach from a place of abundance; the more you give, the more you get.
Rather than just teaching postures, a teacher who helps students to understand the processes and subtle aspects of of yoga allows the practitioner to walk away with an experience of learning. In this way the student begins to embody their own unique experience of yoga, and in the process becomes their own teacher.
So what are the qualities do you think make a great yoga teacher? We’d love you to share these below.
If you’re ready to take a journey and explore these qualities within you, applications are open for our 2023 intake for our Yoga Teacher Education Program.