Should You Become a Yoga Teacher? 3 Key Issues to Consider

Are you considering becoming a yoga teacher? Do you look at your instructor and think what an amazing life they must lead? Has yoga changed your life and now you want to share this practice with the world?

Teaching yoga is a big commitment. Before you invest your time, money, and energy in yoga teacher training; make sure you ask yourself these 3 questions:

(Note: Watch the 7-minute video below for a more in depth discussion. I dive deeply into these 3 issues and share my own experience. OR, read my short summary in this post. :))

 

Do you like TEACHING?

Teaching yoga is an entirely different experience from practicing yoga. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t mean you will enjoy teaching it. Also, just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you will be good at teaching it. Not everyone has a natural talent for teaching but teaching skills can be learned and developed. Are you willing to do what it takes to become an effective teacher? Are you willing to learn how to communicate better? Will you have the patience and dedication to guide your students no matter how difficult it gets? What’s simple and self-explanatory to you may not be so for your students, especially if they’re beginners. Ask yourself if you truly want to TEACH others or if you just want to have more yoga in your life. Maybe a yoga retreat to deepen your practice is what you need, and not necessarily a yoga teacher training.

Can you get up in front of people to teach yoga?

Even if you have a sincere desire to teach, you still might have some sort of “stage fright.” I know a few people who were in yoga teacher training with me who ended up never teaching because they were deathly afraid of being in front of people and actually doing it! Ask yourself if you are willing to develop the necessary confidence and presentation skills to teach a public class. There are ways to learn this: workshops on acting/theater, presentation skills seminars, etc.  As a yoga teacher, you must also confront your anxiety about making mistakes and getting criticized. Have courage and keep practicing!

Will teaching yoga be a side gig or a full-time career?

This is a complex issue that deserves its own blog and video! In a nutshell, ask yourself: Is teaching yoga merely a hobby that you do for fun and not for money? Is teaching yoga a side job that helps supplement income you already make from a steady job? Is teaching yoga going to be your full-time profession after you transition out of your current career? Whichever one you choose, you must know that working as a yoga teacher can be financially challenging, especially in the beginning. Are you sure you are being realistic with your expectations when it comes to money? Have you dealt with any money issues you might have? Do you feel guilty about making money because you view yoga as a spiritual practice? Do you dislike the business and marketing side of yoga? You must look into your conflicting thoughts and feelings about money if you are to be happy and fulfilled as a yoga teacher. Also, burning out is a very common issue with yoga teachers. Ask yourself how much yoga you actually want in your professional life. (note: I will make separate post about this. It’s too complicated!)

These are just few of the issues you must consider before making that commitment to become a yoga teacher. Go ahead and talk to the yoga teachers you know to get a better idea of what their lives are truly like. It is a truly challenging and rewarding journey if it’s right for you. Good luck!

 

Why I Teach Yoga: My Mission Statement

The first thing you see on the home page of my website is my mission statement. In one sentence, I tried to capture 3 things:

  • Intention – why I teach yoga
  • Method – how I achieve my intention
  • Benefit – what I want my students to experience

“My mission is to help students nurture their body, mind, and spirit by clearly and compassionately guiding them through a yoga practice that is skillful, intelligent, and enjoyable.” 

It took a lot of time and effort to come up with this! I had to reflect on the last six years of teaching and distill all my experience into one statement that can clearly express who I am as a yoga teacher. My style is not for everyone. I needed to define my yoga offering so students can decide if I am the right teacher for them or not. More importantly, this was an exercise in self-knowledge and self-evaluation. I needed the clarity for myself. I had to put into words why I teach yoga in the first place and how I intend to share this practice to benefit others.

So, let’s break it down:

Intention – “…to help students nurture their body, mind, and spirit…”

I teach yoga because I want others to experience the gift that my yoga practice has given me – SELF-CARE. In a previous article, I wrote about how yoga taught me the importance of self-care and made me see my tendencies towards over-giving and self-neglect. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” has been a helpful reminder to me that I need to take care of myself first before I can serve others. My yoga practice is my way of filling up that cup so I have something of value to offer others. This self-nourishment is what I want for my students when they’re on their yoga mat.

Method“…by clearly and compassionately guiding them…”

Being a clear and compassionate guide means expressing myself in a way that makes students feel safe, confident and accepted. I do my best to give precise instructions and effective cues. In my classes, all levels are welcome and I provide many options for poses to allow students to work at their own pace. I encourage people to let go of competitiveness and harsh judgment as they breathe and move mindfully. There is no need to force ourselves into shapes that are not right for us. In yoga, we cultivate kindness to ourselves and honesty about what we need in the moment.

Benefit – “…a yoga practice that is skillful, intelligent, and enjoyable…”

Most people come to yoga to take a break from mental activity but the practice can also be a place of learning and discovery. I want my students to master skills that will enable them to practice for a long time while staying free of pain and injury. I also want them to learn beneficial techniques for relaxation and stress relief.  Intelligent exploration in yoga means having a practice that is not only physically sound but is also conducive to emotional and psychological growth. Most of all, I want my students to have fun! I want them to look forward to their time on their mat. Your yoga can be a way of expressing creativity and playfulness. Enjoying your practice is also about being comfortable in your own skin and being grateful for everything your body is able to do.

This is my mission. If you teach yoga or any other mind-body discipline, I highly recommend writing down your mission statement. This exercise will give you clear direction as you navigate life as a teacher in a constantly shifting yoga landscape. The words in my statement might change as my own personal life evolves, but one thing will stay the same – I will continue to share the wonderful practice of yoga with as many people as possible for as long as I can.

 

 

Why I Don’t Make YOGA FOR WEIGHT LOSS Videos: The Truth about Yoga and Weight Loss

In this vlog, I share my opinion on Yoga and Weight Loss. Can yoga help you lose weight? Does yoga make you burn fat? The answer is a bit complicated. I share with you my expert resources (check books, authors, and videos below) so you can have the information you need to make your own decisions. I talk about why I personally do not make “Yoga for Weight Loss” or “Fat Burning Yoga Workout” videos and my yoga teaching philosophy.

Expert Resources:

Dr. Mark Hyman
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ultrawellness
Book: Eat Fat Get Thin

Gary Taubes
Book: Why We Get Fat

Netflix Documentary:
Fed Up

Other Resources:
The works of Michael Pollan
The 100 Diet by Jorge Cruise