To me, teaching yoga has always been so much more than a job. Bringing health, joy and renewal to people has become who I really am, and is no longer a means to an end but the end itself.
Although I establish yoga teacher trainees in my teacher training courses in everything from yogic practices to entrepreneurial skills, it's this mindset change I see in these developing yogi-preneurs that marks the true start of a battle-ready yoga instructor.
10 Inner Qualities of Successful Yoga Teachers
Teaching yoga as a profession has completely transformed my life and identity over the course of 10 years. There are 10 top inner qualities that have really made me and my students successful and life-changing yoga teachers from the inside out.
While these aren't specific tips for would-be yoga teachers on how to run their classes, they are the deeper fundamental yoga teacher qualities or "yoga Teacher-ness" we should cultivate...and which I always keep in mind during my practice and teaching.
Live in, and limit your focus to, the present moment. By not worrying yourself over what ifs and had I's, you will be able to devote all of your passion, talents and compassion to your students and really make a resounding difference.
You'll replace the mental impacts from the challenges and stresses of running a business with your simple here-and-now joys, passions and productivity.
2. Be A Wise Mediator
We often turn to yoga not just for physical wellness but for a mental life that is in joyful harmony with ourselves and others. Your students will look to you for more than just physical advice but on how to reach this harmony.
Become a guru for relationships, career challenges, depression and personal direction and you'll really shine as a beacon of wellness to your students.
3. Become a Health Expert
Let body wellness health practices beyond yoga overtake your life; it'll offer great energetic support to you in the long run, refreshing joy in the toughest of gigs.
This will make you an adviser and representative of overall health to both current and potential students, enabling you to really speak to their wellness and not just about yoga. Eat right, think right, posture right, sleep right — basically do everything with bodily bliss.
4. Be An Authentic and Original Yogi
Yoga touches us in genuine, profound and intimate ways that are not in the one-size-fits-all category. The trick is to strive for that unique transformation and not worrying about copying other yoga teachers and matching their qualities.
Of course you can borrow from other teachers, but it must still truly match with how you are as a person, yogi, and yoga teacher. By understanding authenticity, you not only attract your trainees to your originality and creativity, but will be able to help them in each of their individual levels.
5. Think and Look Outside of The Box
Growing your business or intending to make huge life transformations requires perspective. Winging it day to day without stepping back to find creative opportunities and make bigger plans won't do.
Start thinking like a humanitarian entrepreneur with a mission and find innovative strategies and long term plans that will meet these goals. What will really reach a lot of people? How can I expand the number of students I can help and what ways will make my impact deeper? How will I handle the finances and manpower for the year's goals?
6. Discipline and Organization
This is where the breath work really pays off. You've got the tall order of turning people's lives around and being paid for it as well. It's easy to fall into the "what's my next teaching gig yoga teacher lifestyle" idea and doing not much more in-between, greatly losing growth potential.
It's understandable, you're tired, you want to just let yourself fall apart at the end of the day. But if you want to grow,you'll need to have focus, proper breathing know-how, and structure and discipline.
A dedicated time each day needs to be set aside to focus and plan your business in an organized manner. Are you in the habit of due diligence, writing business plans, meeting follow-up actions, and finally, seeing things through? Om, breath, and focus.
7. Make Yoga Your Life
Don't think of yoga as a tough hat you have to put on at dawn. When you prepare for yogic or teaching work, remember that you are once again becoming your true self, doing what you love. Love every second of it like nothing else.
At the same time, when you're not out teaching yoga, always try to maintain the philosophy, practices and bliss that yoga gives. This will prevent work burnout and you'll be able to teach students how yoga and wellness can take over their lives and become a habit.
8. Be Happy
This one is obvious isn't it? But the thing is, it ain't always easy. So I put it here so you can keep it always on your radar where you can see it. It's the purpose of the yogic path and what you'll one day lead your students to. Cultivate it through yoga practices and it will be your unquenchable light during the darkest hours of the business.
9. Work on Empathy
Teaching yoga is more than just teaching a life skill. It is an act of healing and care. Be one who connects with people on all levels, humorously, emotionally as well as through physical support. Your show of affection, friendship and genuine willingness to help is part of the formula that works to deliver happiness.
10. Know The 8 Limbs Of Yoga
Your classes will usually be working on poses and the asana aspect of yoga, but you're also a spiritual guide. Eventually you'll need to tie it all back to joy of the mind, body and spirit connection — things that the physical limb of yoga (asana) won't be enough to teach.
By working towards mastering these eight limbs of yoga, you put yourself in a radiant life and a place from which you can help others find their way into that radiance.
What about you? What do you consider as the essential qualities every yoga teacher should have? Share your thoughts with us!