What qualities do you think are paramount for someone to be considered a "good yoga teacher"?
If you are already a yoga student, what do you expect from your teacher?
I had to write an assignment recently about my answer to this question for my Post Grad Yoga Teacher Training and this is what I came up with below. I certainly don't think that being a good yoga teacher means being able to do all the "fancy" poses. Do you agree with me?
A good yoga teacher is someone who is passionate about their yoga practice and they love how it has helped them physically, mentally and spiritually, and they want to share their knowledge of this practice, and the bliss and love that comes with it, with the world. They are committed to work towards being the best version of themselves that they can be every single day, as well as continuously building on their knowledge for the benefit of themselves and their students. They are aware that their wellness journey (and everyone else’s) is a life-long process and they are always owning up too and learning from their mistakes.
They are driven by a desire to help others on their path to wellness and help increase their quality of life (if the students desires this), such as learning how to honour and care for their physical bodies and its constantly changing needs on and off the mat, how to be present, how to connect with their intuition and ‘true self’ beyond the constant chatter of a busy and maybe self-damaging mind, how to release the ego and to realise it’s even there in the first place, how to practice self-love, kindness, forgiveness, non-judgement and acceptance, and to come to the realisation that we are all connected so extending that self-practice to include how we treat others is how we heal ourselves and the world.
The way the teacher offers this information is through guidance and suggestion and personal experience, not through preaching, as this allows the student to find out for themselves what works for them and their mindsets in that point of time. The student can then develop at the pace that they are ready for depending on where they are at in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual journeys and they can form their own belief structure (and appropriate asanas/postures for their bodies) that they choose to follow.
They respect their student’s privacy, always keeping what they are told confidential, as well as respecting their values and beliefs, not touching them without permission, and not judging what point in their enlightenment journey the student is at. They don’t talk down to their students making them feel inferior, and they keep ethical boundaries within the teacher-student relationship. They also have the ability to protect themselves from taking others emotional baggage on board and from being taken advantage of. They are able to be generous and kind without being detrimental to their own health and well being.
They are approachable, friendly, reliable, honest, punctual, fair, patient and compassionate. They have sound moral principles, are excellent communicators (through much more than just what they say), have a clear and easy flowing “yoga” voice, are able to offer modifications throughout their sequences to appeal to all the different levels of abilities within the class, and they make their students feel “seen” and “heard” and that they are in good hands. They follow their duty or care and to the best of their ability they aim to keep their clients safe within their practice through smart sequencing and cueing, using their knowledge for how to deal with common injuries and restrictions. They lead by example in and out of the classroom by following the core philosophies of yoga, and they inspire and gently guide their students to find the knowledge and unconditional love that is already within them.
This is the kind of yoga teacher I strive and hope to be. I may be far from perfect, but I can promise that I will always try to be the best version of me that I can be every single day, on and off the mat.