Sequels are never better, or even as good, as the original. I am aware of that. Three years ago I wrote a blog post that still gets shared from teacher to teacher, student to student, and teacher to student throughout social media. I am not trying to replicate the success of that post, but upon landing within a fascinating discussion of teaching techniques, worries, and concerns with some of my fearless and inspiring fellow teachers a few weeks ago I couldn’t shake the fact that there is a great deal more that most students, and the public in general, don’t know about those that teach yoga.
I would like to say that the teachers I work with are serious about teaching yoga and passionate to no end. We each took on a 500-hour teacher training that was no walk in the park or by any means convenient. We had to leave our homes and our families and be away for weeks on end in order to stand in front of you and lead you through your yoga asana practice. We sacrificed quite a bit to take on this profession and consider it as such: a profession, not a hobby, or a cool part-time job.
That being said, over the past few years I realize that you might not be aware of what goes on behind the scenes for yoga instructors as we travel from studio to studio and lead class after class.
We are constantly working to give you a better class experience. We do not simply graduate from Teacher Training and arrive on the podium with an exceptional class. It takes time, patience, and a ton of work to craft the classes we give on a day to day basis. Teachers assess what worked and what didn’t work while they were leading the class, work with fellow teachers to refine the way they handle corrections, tone of voice, and clarity of the instruction, and continue their education by working with those that know a great deal more than we do as often as possible. It is a never ending learning experience, much like a yoga asana practice.
Your yoga teacher navigates a crazy schedule to make the yoga possible for you. You need to have a yoga class at the crack of dawn before work. There is no way you can make it to the studio before you get the kiddos off to school. The only time you can make it is a few hours after you had dinner. We hear you! It can be a struggle sometimes to make time for you and get your yoga practice done for the day and your studio owner and their staff of warrior teachers are there to make it happen. We wake up at 4am to make sure to greet you at the studio and at times get to bed at 11:30pm as we wind down from the evening classes. Usually you find what works for you best as a teacher, the morning or the evening, but many teachers take on either side of the schedule to make sure each class is covered…and these individuals are rock stars!
Once a student always a student. We are learning right along with you. Five years ago I knew a heck of a lot less about yoga than I do today. The best way to learn about yoga asana is simply to show up and practice. There is no other way. No weekend posture clinic or private lesson is going to give you any insight if you don’t show up to apply what you learned week after week, day after day. If you haven’t taken a certain teachers class, or scheduled a one-on-one session in a while you may be surprised at how much more knowledge your instructor may have to offer you.
We want to know you. If we know you better, we can help you more. It’s as simple as that. Don’t be shy if you have a question or if you want to talk about your life. Your life and the way you choose to live it directly effects your yoga practice. If you ran two marathons in the last 3 months I want to know about that, not only because it is damn impressive, but because you may be tighter in the hips or be nursing an injury and I may be able to assist you in your healing process. We love people. We love to help people on their life’s journey. That’s why we are yoga teachers.
You make our day better. There are so many students that bring a light to my day when they show up to take class. You have no idea how much you mean to your teachers and how proud they are of even the tiniest triumph within your practice. We may be tough at times, but we truly want the best for each and every one of you. Sharing this yoga is literally a dream job and I can’t imagine my life away from the podium or without rows of students to teach and share this yoga with. You know that inner “woo-hoo” when you see your favorite teacher behind the desk at check-in? I have an inner “woo-hoo” every time you step through the studio doors to practice.
We don’t make a ton of money, but still feel like the wealthiest people in the world. When you get to do something you love each day, life has a richness that is somewhat indescribable. Devoting your life to helping others is the best way to spend this time on Earth and makes even the toughest days ones that still are loaded with more light than dark.
As I have said before we are all doing are best. The teachers are doing their best to share the yoga with you and we trust that you too are doing your best while you work within the confines of each posture. Trust that we want you to get the most out of the time you set aside to practice and let us help you on your journey. We are there to help shine a light on the sometimes shadowy spaces that have crept into your life. We are not aerobic instructors, we are healing therapists, ready to help you along on the road to wellness and self-realization and there is nothing better than when a student allows us to be a part of that journey.