Teaching yoga, conveying information about the vast practice of yoga as one human being to other human beings is a practice in itself. Teaching yoga means connecting on deeper levels to the wholeness of your experience, rather than as an end in itself. It involves making space for your own humanity, attending to your own insecurities, blind spots, fears and desires, and getting out of your own way to teach a class especially on those days you don't even want to get out of bed. Self study, regular yoga practice and life experience will enable you to continually evolve and change over time. Not change as in 'getting better', but change as in 'becoming more you'…the fullest expression of yourself as a teacher and in life.
The first thing that you have to understand is that teaching yoga is not for everyone. Please don’t get me wrong. I personally know that being a yoga teacher can be one of the most rewarding professions. Not only do you get to help others achieve their goals, but you will also find yourself achieving your goals much easier. Ane while most people, with the right kind of training can become a successful yoga teacher… there’s a lot more to it than just rolling out your mat, providing some advice on postures and then collecting a check.
There’s a huge difference between someone who’s read a few books or downloaded a program on becoming a yoga teacher… and someone who’s actually been through ‘real’ training to be a teacher. That’s why there’s so much confusion around the idea of teaching yoga. It’s not a “get rich quick” business, and making a lot of money, is not what it’s all about. Most people that choose to become yoga teachers are tired of the old “what’s in it for me” mentality and they’re ready to serve others instead. They know that by helping others, they’re helping themselves. It reminds me of a great quote from Ray Kroc, “The more I help others to succeed, the more I succeed.”
Yoga isn't about making your life more comfortable, or making you more 'enlightened' - it's about making you more real. Playing the role of a yoga teacher will have you focused on the positive, telling yourself that the heartbreak will only make a person stronger, and that everything will be ok (easy, comfortable, manageable) again someday. To walk into a class and teach 'poses', bypassing the emotional storms and hurricanes, as if your whole world isn't falling apart when it is, is to ignore the rich and trustworthy relationship you can have with your inner guidance. Who you are isn't as one-dimensional and together as your imagined, perfect, yoga teacher. The very things you try to hide is what makes you more interesting and enables you to connect with other people in a way that is real and meaningful. You are probably the only person who thinks you should have your life perfectly together when you walk into a room. Being yourself, even when you are sometimes needy, neurotic, scared or sad, is far more preferable and less exhausting than constantly trying to outrun yourself.
If you choose to be a yoga teacher, chances are you will learn how to make a living with out having a 'job', because you make a living doing what you love. Each morning, you will wake, meditate and be super psyched to start a new day. You will manage your own calendar, work out whenever you want to, and can do yoga nidra in the middle of the day. Many people have similar desires: to do what they love, when they want and make a great living out of it, but fear, doubt and limiting beliefs block them from stepping into their true purpose and taking action on their dreams. Living a spiritual, joy-filled and peaceful life might be a major career transition, and like I said, it’s not right for everyone. But, you never know, you may find that teaching yoga is exactly what you’re looking for. You can influence, help and impact other peoples’ lives while working on your own, without having to sacrifice your values and happiness. That is also what is extra-ordinary about teaching yoga.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.