The world needs good yoga teachers. Iâ€™ve been teaching yoga as a career for over 16 years and have logged more than 20,000 teaching hours. I will forever be a student both of yoga and the practice of teaching yoga and I suppose that Iâ€™ll always be learning how to be more effective.
Yet, through the trial and error of my own teaching, teaching dozens of teacher training programs, and by mentoring many other yoga teachers, Iâ€™ve learned volumes about what makes the difference between a so-so or less effective teacher and what makes a great teacher.
Here are three easy tools that Iâ€™ve seen help several teachers raise their effectiveness from so-so, to excellent. Try them on and see if they wonâ€™t immediately improve your teaching by helping your students respond to you better.
#1 Be Authentic
Great teachers donâ€™t try to teach like their teachers or yoga idols, they integrate what theyâ€™ve learned and then teach from their own hearts. Being authentic in your teaching speaks to the yoga principle ofÂ SatyaÂ or Truth. If you are truthful in your teaching, your best friends and family will still recognize you while youâ€™re teaching yoga. Know who you are and teach as that person
And forÂ Ganeshâ€™sÂ sake, ditch the overly-calm â€śYoga Teacherâ€ť persona . . . Â (I pause to retch). And if thatâ€™s the real way you talk, then you probably have a lucrative career recording the â€śThank you for holdingâ€ť message for banks. But if youâ€™re not being you, your students will see through it before your first OM.
Authenticity wins over experience every time. Try starting class with whatâ€™s real for you in the moment. â€śOk! Iâ€™m kinda new at this so Iâ€™m nervous as hell but Iâ€™m excited to be here so Iâ€™ll try to stay grounded in my body during class as Iâ€™m inviting you to do likewise.â€ť Boom! If I were a student in a class and my teacher started out with that kind of honesty, they would instantly have my buy-in, despite their lack of experience.
#2 Look people in the face
Teaching yoga is a special opportunity to connect to people and connect them to themselves.
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About the Author
Scott MooreÂ is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when heâ€™s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog atÂ scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son.