Tuesday, February 23, 2010

more thoughts on teaching yoga

Today I will be addressing the following question by Eco Yogini: "I have been considering it...and have been approached to take a local teacher training by the studio...but. But I am not flexible, nor am I advanced. In complete honesty, in order to be an accomplished, responsible teacher, should you be able to perform all poses taught?"

Here are my thoughts on this great question (keep in mind this is my personal opinion--if you have additional thoughts, feel free to comment!):

I am not sure what an "accomplished" teacher is exactly, but I do completely and totally think those who are interested in teaching yoga and who are willing to put the time and effort involved in it, should go for it! DO NOT LET SELF DOUBT OR SELF CRITICISM STOP YOU! You have to start somewhere, so start where you are and let your judgments go!

When I began teaching yoga, I taught 45 minute classes because I really thought that was the only amount of time I could fill. Now, I teach 60 and 90 minute classes and would usually like another half hour after that! We have to remember, we grow as teachers, just as we grow as students.

I, myself, cannot do every single yoga pose; however, I can do a modified version (at minimum) of the postures. I believe it is important to give all yoga students options and variations of poses. Even those "more advanced" students have days where they may not feel 100%, and they can appreciate the modified options for poses. Sometimes we can show these modified positions, and then verbally cue going into a pose deeper, if needed. When I'm in a modified version of a pose, I will simply say something like, "Some people are able to grab their foot with both hands in this posture, and you might need to do so to find your personal personal edge." They get it--they don't need to see me do it.

If you wait until you feel 100% ready or competent to instruct yoga (or to do anything for that matter), you'll probably never start. If you have a strong desire to begin instructing yoga, go for it!

Thanks so much for the questions! Let me know if you have others or more thoughts on this one!


Eco Yogini said...

Thank you very much for the well thought out answer! I also have never considered the perspective of modifications.

I appreciate your kind thoughts and perspective! Thank you so much Leslie :)

Melita said...

you make a really good point. like eco yogini, i was worried about becoming a yoga teacher. i had a strong desire and passion for yoga and wanted to share my love with others by teaching. i'm a relatively newbie teacher and i was so incredibly nervous teaching my first vinyasa class. i do feel myself becoming a stronger teacher with each class and it's such a nice feeling. i can't do every pose either but like you, i can do at least some version or modification of it. it's so true when they say 'once a teacher, ALWAYS a student.' but i am loving every second of it, flaws and all. hugs to you both!!

Yogadiva said...

Eco Yogini--You are very welcome. If teaching is your true desire, I definitely hope you sign up for that teacher training soon!

Melita--starting out is always a little intimidating, but as you said each class gets better and better!

YogaMaendy said...

Oh I agree! I am saving up to take YTT next year...but I am in no way shape or form an advanced Yogi either. I think if you have the desire to learn more about Yoga and would like to share it with others, that is enough to become a Yoga teacher.
Melita - that is a good saying "Once a teacher, always a student" :) I like that!