5 things no one tells you about being a yoga teacher

Some yoga teachers are real stars these days: they teach in front of huge groups at festivals, write books, give talks, promote products on social media.

They have cultivated a glamorous image. As a result, many people think that yoga teachers are always in top shape, slim, well-dressed, healthy and in full control of their lives. Participants in teacher training courses report profound spiritual experiences and rave about their time in training.

But there are also things that nobody tells you before you become a yoga teacher. Here are five of them:

Your own practice is more important than ever

No, it is not enough to demonstrate the asanas to your participants. As a teacher, you will have to place a lot of emphasis on your own asana and meditation practice. Why?

First of all, it keeps you strong and supple. Both are essential if you want to demonstrate asanas regularly. It also relaxes you when you’re stressed. Yes, even those who teach yoga can be stressed or even suffer from burnout. Self-care is therefore essential.

In addition to these vital reasons, your own time on the mat is also a source of inspiration. Have you experienced a creative new sequence or a particularly beautifully guided deep relaxation? Then use this new insight for your teaching! Only if you practice regularly – both on your own and in classes – will you have enough ideas for your own classes.

You will then be able to teach them much better and more vividly, because you need to know what the asanas you are teaching feel like.

You will see everyday life with different eyes

You have probably become more mindful through your own regular practice and the intensive training period and experience many everyday things differently. But that’s not even what I mean.

When you start teaching yoga, you will see everyday life through the filter of what you have learned in your training. For example, you will evaluate and handle minor conflicts differently. In addition, everything becomes a source of inspiration and thus a potential topic for your classes. Has someone in your circle of friends or family told you an inspiring story? It’s quite possible that you’ll weave it into your next Dharma Talk.

Teaching is so different from practicing

You may be a very advanced practitioner and you may be able to perform physically demanding asanas with ease. However, this does not automatically mean that you can also instruct them well. Conversely, you may not be able or want to practice an asana, but you are still perfectly capable of teaching it.

Therefore, especially as a new yoga teacher, don’t be fooled if you have planned a supposedly simple class. People often think “I practice all the asanas in the sequence all the time, I don’t need to prepare much for this class”. Instead, you should really take another look at the exercises.

It is also important for the participants to feel them. Especially if you practice the asanas regularly, this may happen almost automatically. But it’s not enough to say “and now into Downward-Facing Dog”. Rather, you want to guide the individual steps that are necessary to move from the current position to the next. You want to direct your students’ concentration to specific areas of the body. You may want to accompany the asana with affirmations. All of this requires a certain amount of preparation.

You will feel like a newbie again

In your training group, you were perhaps the only person who managed the Scorpio pose; the person who could sink deepest into the forward fold and stay in meditation the longest. You grasped the theory quickly and felt like a yoga pro, ready to inspire people with your classes.

As a teacher, on the other hand, you are totally new after the training. Yes, the asanas may be familiar, but it won’t be familiar to make them accessible to others. Allow yourself to be a beginner again! All of us who teach yoga have had to find our feet in this new role. Give yourself this time and don’t let stage fright discourage you! It’s only natural that it feels unfamiliar and intimidating to look into expectant faces at the beginning of a course.

You don’t automatically become a “better” person

Let’s go back to the ‘perfect’ image mentioned at the beginning that some yoga teachers cultivate on social media.

Your life won’t change overnight just because you teach yoga. You won’t automatically become healthier, more energetic or happier. It’s not enough to teach classes – it’s important that you still see yourself as a student and progress on your own yogic path while helping others to follow it.

Every experience on the yoga path is valuable, especially teaching. I wish you many enriching experiences on your own journey!

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