In my whole decade long yoga practice I met several yoga teachers – so many that I can not even remember. I met teachers who were perfectly close to my schedule so I attended their classes out of convenience. Then there were teachers who were so amazing that I used to get up early on Saturdays for going to their classes, I was ready to pay twice as much to them and could happily send half of my day with them. In fact, they're so good that I'll fly across the country to learn yoga from them!
And when I started teaching yoga 5 years ago I was thinking about a lot about the qualities of a really amazing yoga teacher. Most yoga teachers know and understand the poses pretty well. They may also be good enough in guiding a class, but it's the teacher's style, personality and ability to relate to students that really makes the big difference.
Here are some common qualities that I found in all great yoga teachers out there. I wish to join their ranks one day:
- They do not have any problem in living the real life of full-time stress and full-time jobs. They're experienced at it.
- They can easily explain the relationship between the lessons that we learn on yoga mat and tasks we do in the real world.
- They're not unsure of themselves. They have confidence in the things that they know.
- If they do not know something, they're the humility to say “I do not know” instead of giving a wrong or unsure answer. And more importantly, they do not have any problem if they do not know all the answers.
- They respect boundaries and allow students to find their own space. However, they can also provide advice on things if they're asked.
- They realize that all of us are students and never put themselves in the superior category.
- They share enough information from their personal life to connect with students. But at the same time, they do not make the class about themselves.
- They remember the names of their students and they also remember the injuries and challenges their students have. And yes, they also understand the strengths and triumphs of their students.
- They are available to their students even outside of class.
- They do not feel any problem in admitting their faults.
- They do not become too serious during the class and laugh when they fall down while teaching any of the balance poses. This way they teach you to laugh at yourself.
- And lastly, they welcome questions-especially the silly ones!