Here are some of the excuses I hear about not becoming a yoga teacher:
But I don’t know all the poses.
But I haven’t had a serious personal practice for very long.
But I’m afraid to be in front of people.
But I can’t handstand or forearm stand or Shiva pose.
But I don’t know Sanskrit.
But I’m not in good enough shape.
But I’m not sure what I’ll do with a yoga teaching certificate.
But I don’t need or want a second job.
We all have life experiences that we can use to contribute to a yoga class. It all comes into play in providing context to yoga.
Here is my example. I am older so I wasn’t really sure if I’d get my money back from teacher training to teaching part-time. I have a bad back too. So what happens if my back goes out for long periods of time? I am an athlete, doing CrossFit and endurance sports. All that muscle breakdown leads to muscle and connective tissue tightness. How will I ever grow in yoga?
I had many excuses to NOT become a yoga teacher. It was the same feeling I had when I was placed in the position of becoming an Army Drill Instructor. I really was hoping I’d transition out of my Army unit before actually having to do that. But I’m like a 200% better and different person than before going through all of that. I can say the same for yoga.
The truth is, the negative experiences you’ve had in life, the hardships, the excuses for not becoming a yoga teacher are all the reasons for becoming one. They make you human. They make you relate-able to your yoga students. All these picture-worthy poses that the 1% of the yoga population does are not something 99% of your students will ever even try to attempt. So none of that matters. What matters more is, can you teach someone downward facing dog and warrior I? Those are hard poses to teach. Chaturanga is even more difficult. You don’t have to be “elite” to be a yoga teacher.
My bad back? Yeah, do you know how many people walk around with a bad back, knee injuries, ankle & foot problems? Yeah, this is what people need to know about. They need to know you can empathize with them. The teacher who has never gone through hardship, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, is at a great disadvantage as a teacher. Their teaching becomes sterile because they can’t relate to their classes. Its better to have flaws as a teacher.
When I was an Army Drill Sergeant, we couldn’t ever show flaws. We couldn’t fall down, we couldn’t sweat, we could never show weakness. But that’s how a yoga teacher relates. We show we’re human. We have humility. We embrace pain and despair. Its how we can show there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Its how we can show that we never arrive in yoga; there is always something more to learn. If a teacher thinks they know everything, run away from that teacher because they really don’t get it.
Everyone can teach yoga. Everyone has something to offer. You can teach one class a week, or many. It’s all up to you. It will help you understand your own personal practice better too. There aren’t many really good reasons to not do it.
You CAN do it!!
2 thoughts on “Me…A Yoga Teacher?”
Loved this, Andy, thanks. I question every day why I teach — but what you say is all true!
Thank you! We all have a lot to offer from the lives we’ve walked
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