For many teaching Yoga is a career. And most teachers take their job seriously. When one learns how to teach Yoga students, there is a certain level of responsibility and accountability the aspiring teacher can expect to take. The best way to teach is to develop a solid foundation, structure, standardization, and ethics in the guidelines of teaching. There is no umbrella association or Yoga Alliance, and the methods of the teachers are at their discretion.
The cart is not supposed to go in front of the horse. The same principle applies to the progression of the asana postures. Asana focuses on the strength and flexibility of the body by promoting breathing patterns that reinforce the practice. When the body is secured by breath, it can move properly and safely. However, if a student cannot lower the body with control and integrity during chaturanga, the body is not in position to do a handstand. A stable foundation is essential for a balanced and solid structure to be sustainable. Slow and easy wins the race.
Being a teacher means giving students what they need, not what they want. The job of a teacher is to listen, guide, and honor the needs of the students. The teacher’s responsibility is to provide structure and security in that structure. If the teacher allowed students to do whatever they wanted, he is guilty of neglect. The teacher does not fix, he guides. There is no one-size shoe fits all solution. Everyone is different, and a teacher has to learn how to adjust to those differences.
As a Yoga instructor, the instructor should observe the differences of his students. Learn their body, know their injuries, and watch their movements. An adjustment to everybody’s differences is the same as prescription. Only then can the teacher learn how to adjust instructions according to each and every one’s needs.
Simplicity is the key to successful instruction. It is teachable, learnable, and peaceful. It is best to teach students in a simple-to-understand format. The student’s will appreciate it and learn to cherish it. This does not mean neglect the framework within the student-teacher dynamic.
The teacher must make himself accessible to the student whenever called upon, but there are certain levels of boundaries that the teacher should set and the students should respect. It is the teacher’s job to cultivate aspiration through commitment and consistency. Respect for the teacher and his teachings are key for assimilating Yoga, and respect for the student and their differences are key for projecting Yoga instructions effectively.
Not all teacher-student relationships are permanent. There may become a time where a teacher feels that he has taught all that he can to his students. There are times where a teacher feels incompetent or feels as if he has let down his students. Even though a teacher is a teacher, every day is a learning experience for both the teacher and the student. Being a teacher is not a competition or a popularity contest. It is a dedication to a service to assist the student’s needs.