With standout benefits like lowering stress, boosting self-confidence, decreasing risk of depression, increasing social interaction, slowing the aging process, and finding purpose and fulfillment, it comes as no surprise why people do volunteer work.
And when you volunteer to teach yoga, you get a kick asana way to karmically get your energy moving in the right direction and blend those extra awesome volunteer points with the magic of yoga. While it might be hard to motivate your booty to move off the couch after a long day of teaching and working, it is worth it because there is a lot you can learn when you give back!
Working as a volunteer yoga teacher can be very rewarding; here are just five of the many things you'll learn when you go out there and teach as a volunteer.
1. It's Not About the Money...Except It Sometimes Is
While the business of yoga is a billion-dollar industry, karma or community classes make the practice more accessible and financially possible for more people. Often $10 a pop for drop-in class and sometimes more than $25, the cost of yoga is a hurdle that keeps many people from attending teacher-led classes.
The downside for students is that if they never are instructed by a teacher, no one is necessarily making sure they are staying physically safe in their practice. Long-term injuries in the joints take time to show up and might be as simple to correct as noticing where weight is shifted in the feet.
While it is likely not financially possible to teach all-free classes, volunteering once a week or a few times a month expands the circle of people who can learn from a teacher, practice with others in community, and be instructed on proper safety and alignment.
2. Inclusion and Diversity Is Really Important
As a volunteer yoga teacher, you are going to work with people who have never practiced yoga. You might also be volunteering with a more diverse population such as a volunteer yoga teacher in the prison system or to underserved and marginalized populations.
As the "ambassador" to yoga, you will need to know how to modify classes for all different bodies, minds, and souls as well as create space for difference and invite inclusion.
3. How to Cultivate Community and Connection
There is a reason volunteer teachers often call their classes "community classes." This is because the hope is to make the classes (and yoga, in general) more accessible to the community. The practice of volunteering as a yoga teacher can mean teaching classes or offering free workshops or small groups, these activities bring people together in connection.
4. When to Say Yes and How to Say No
Even something as pure and wonderful as breath can become too much of a good thing if one forgets to balance the inhale with the exhale. Volunteering requires a balance of saying yes to volunteer engagements when possible, and no when the commitments are too much.
Volunteering helps yoga teachers learn their boundaries and what works for them to feel socially engaged without feeling energetically burnt out.
5. The Reward of a Job Well Done
Emerson once said, “the reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” The reward of volunteering is often to have just shared the teachings of yoga and given your honest and hard work.
However, it also helps that altruistic acts, such as volunteering as a yoga teacher, are associated with enhanced self-esteem and a sense of belonging and purpose.
Hope you feel inspired to volunteer and teach! You have so much good energy to share with the world. Feel free to comment below what you have learned as a volunteer yoga teacher or what you hope to do as one! With love and light, namaste.
Image credit: Cetin Cetintas