Chances are if you’ve been at a yoga practice for a while, you’ve found that it lessens pain in the body, eases stress in the soul, and increases your overall sense of well-being. You may have noticed that you’re less likely to fly off the handle than you used to be, you’re generally happier, and you’re loving life in ways you never imagined. In a world dominated by non-stop activity, endless social media feeds, and the proliferation of high-tech devices, yoga is one of the few popular endeavors that require only a sticky mat and a commitment to practice. No technology is needed.
As a yoga practitioner, you know that yoga practice is sometimes the only time of day when someone truly unplugs, enters a state of calm, moves their body, and simply breathes. Studies now prove what we’ve always suspected—that yoga practitioners are much more likely to be concerned with social causes, living green, and volunteering in their communities than those who do not practice yoga. Being a part of such a positive, uplifting, and life-changing practice makes many yoga fans want to give up the nine-to-five grind in favor of teaching yoga and helping others awaken, too! If that urge to let it all go and enroll in a yoga teacher training sounds familiar and you eventually become a teacher, you will have the honor and privilege of guiding people through their own self-discovery—a process that can be challenging, but also joyous and rewarding.
If you are considering making the leap from yoga practitioner to yoga teacher, ask yourself these two questions:
• Am I ready to learn to teach yoga?
• Will I be a natural at teaching well?
And then ask… Do You Have These 9 Yoga Teacher Qualities ?
Take a look inside and ask whether these are characters you possess. Then go back to carefully contemplate the questions above.
1. Identify as a student of yoga in all areas of your life—not just on the mat?
2. Embrace an attitude of being continually open to learning and being able to admit when you don’t know something?
3. Possess a fundamental understanding of your own energy and a sensitivity to other people’s boundaries?
4.Have a daily practice?
5. Work to cultivate a vibrant body, a sharp mind, and a soft heart?
6. Consider yourself psychologically minded with a certain level of emotional stability?
7. Enjoy academics, studying, and scholarly pursuits?
8. Have a spiritual practice, even if that’s simply an appreciation of nature, art, or anything beautiful?
9. Not worry about being too physically adept at the practice?
Once you’ve gone back and considered the first two questions again, you should know your answer.
What if I got a lot of no’s?
Not to worry! You can still deepen your understanding of yoga. Many students go through yoga immersions, boot camps, and even teacher trainings with no intention of teaching, simply to go deeper into their practice and delve more fully into their own process of self-discovery.
As rewarding as a 60- or 90-minute class can be, the mysteries and layers of yoga are vast. Consider attending longer format programs, workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, and week- to month-long courses, giving yourself no pressure to teach, simply giving yourself the gift of learning.
And if you got a lot of yes’s…
Buckle up! Take that teacher training. And mostly be ready to see your teaching as a professional career rather than a hobby. You will go far and you’ll touch more lives than you can imagine.
Amy Ippoliti is the co-author of the new book, The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga. Learn more at amyippoliti.com. She is known for bringing yoga to modern-day life in a genuine way through her intelligent sequencing, clear instruction, and engaging sense of humor. She shares her passion for yoga, health, and earth conservation through her writings and underwater imagery with marine animals. A teacher on YogaGlo.com, she is a pioneer of advanced yoga education, cofounding 90 Monkeys, an online and in-person school that has enhanced the skills of yoga teachers and studios in 65 countries.