5 Things That Yoga Teachers Need to Stop Doing

Post by Kokil Sharma,  28 June 2014 ,  Articles
Teaching Yoga is probably one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. Just knowing that you are making an actual difference to someone’s life is a great feeling to have. Once you have been teaching for a while, you start recognising the same faces (and new ones) in the class every week, which makes you feel trusted and good at what you do. Some people can relate to your style of teaching and some, may be not so much. But overall, its a great way of helping people around you through your skills and talent. However, there are a few things that Yoga teachers need to be aware of. These may not be very obvious to you as a teacher but for a student, these small things make a huge difference. 

Showing off doing yoga

Touching and too many adjustments

Touching and adjusting students where it isn’t even necessary is probably the most annoying thing you can do to your students. During the training, Yoga teachers are taught to put a lot of emphasis on physically adjusting students to help them align correctly. While this is a good thing to practice, there are many teachers who are doing it wrong. Yoga is an extremely physical activity and as Yoga teachers you have to know your boundaries and be extremely cautious. You can offend some people and even cause minor injuries in many cases. Specially, for hyper mobile people, you probably don’t need to push them to go any deeper in a pose but instead help them avoid over stretching. If you see a special case in the class, take your time to get to know them and their practice. Don’t try to fix them in a day. Wait and see if they come back to your classes and talk to them before starting to play around with their body. The mantra here is, if in doubt – don’t touch at all. Just give them verbal instructions and allow some time, because they will get naturally get better with more and more practice. 

Too much detail

Many Yoga teachers like to give their students as much explanation on a pose as possible along with details on the human anatomy. There is nothing wrong with that except that its not important to read the whole anatomy book out to them. Make sure that your instructions are to the point and simple, rather than trying to explain how every single muscle in the body works. Your students may have had a very long and busy day and are probably not so interested in an anatomy class. In fact most people come to a Yoga class to stretch and relax. Be encouraging and educate them to an extent but don’t give too much detail on everything. Leave that for the teacher training courses. 

Being arrogant and cocky

As strange as it sounds, you might come across many Yoga teachers these days who project the most un-Yogic qualities. When you decide to be a Yoga teacher, you have a responsibility to help others through your skill and practice. Its a gift of knowledge that you are lucky to pass on to your students. Therefore, you have to understand that most students come to your class to feel better and healthier. If you are going to act miserable and unsupportive, you are essentially  abusing your position. Eventually, it will be taken away from you simply because you are not helping anyone. You are given an opportunity to bring greater good to people’s lives, so always keep that in mind. Be professional and be humane. 

Showing off 

As fun as it may be, Yoga teachers need to stop showing off when they're teaching a class. Whether that means doing crazy postures in the middle of a class just to impress your students or wearing inappropriate clothing for whatever reason. Be sensible and mindful of how you come across to your students. Always be professional and grounded. 

Fake voice

I have personally never come across any teacher who fakes their voice to sound more calm and yoga like but I have come across many beginners and first time students who complain that they went to a class where the teacher’s fake Yoga voice specially towards the end (Savasana, relaxation stage) really put them off or sounded funny. It is important to stay as natural and relaxed as possible, because faking your voice or anything that you do, will take your student’s attention away from their practice to how you are speaking. Try and not talk during Savasana at all and let the students relax completely.

Yoga teachers are normal human beings at the end of the day and are allowed to make mistakes. But because Yoga is all about being aware of yourself and others around you, you have a bigger responsibility to mind yourself and to mind your actions. If you trust yourself, act with the right intention and stay mindful, you are already on the right path. A true Yogi only wants the best for his/ her students. 

Article credits go to our contributor Kokil Sharma, who runs online yoga and lifestyle project called Jyoti Yoga

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