As a yoga teacher who also teaches on yoga teacher trainings I often get asked what I think is the most important thing as a yoga teacher. My answer to this question is actually quite simple.
In my opinion the most important thing is that you never stop being a student.
I come across so many teachers who think they have all the answers. Who think they never need to study again. That it’s very much their way or the highway. They believe that they are always right, and there’s not much room for other perspectives, opinions or views. This makes me so sad. They become closed off, and they are, in my opinion, no longer a student of yoga.
Being a student will forever be my favorite role. I love teaching. However, that is not my favorite role. My favorite role is being a student. It’s studying yoga in any way, shape and form. Whether it’s attending workshops, studying with my teacher, listening to podcasts, reading books, go to other teacher’s classes, attend trainings/intensives or simply just getting on my own yoga mat every day. Every day when I step on my mat I am a student of yoga. Just like my students in class or in my yoga teacher trainings. I am no different. We are all just students on a spiritual journey. Let’s face it: none of us know everything. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I mess up. There is so much I still have to learn. So much I still would like to study.
I would love going to Mysore for a month and just practice Ashtanga. No teaching at all. Just me being a student. I would love to attend one of Tim Feldmann’s and Kino MacGregor’s intensive trainings in Miami one day. Generally, I would love doing more workshops with these two amazing humans. I would also love to study yin and fascia with Jo Phee. I would love to find someone I could further my studies on the Yoga Sutras with. I could go on and on and on.
But you see my point, right? I am never going to stop being a student. I am very well aware that I don’t know everything. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know everything there is to know about yoga. I am only 28 years old. I have so much to learn and study.
I think being a student is so humbling, and I think that in order to teach yoga you need a humble and grateful heart. You cannot come with the attitude that you’re somehow above your students. That you have the answers. Or try to tell your students how to live their life. As a teacher I’m simply sharing my knowledge and what I have learned along my yoga journey.
So, if you are a yoga teacher or you are considering becoming a yoga teacher, please never stop being a student. I think that the moment you stop being a student, you are no longer on the path of yoga. As a student we tap into the beginner’s mind. We show up with a humble, grateful, open mind. We understand that we don’t know everything, and that we don’t have all the answers. Sometimes we have to say “I don’t know” to our students. That is okay. Sometimes we might be able to find an answer, other times not. Either way is okay. Some questions don’t have an answer. Some questions aren’t meant to be answered. Perhaps some questions are simply meant to be reflected upon.
I believe and think that if you can first and foremost see yourself as a student of yoga and not a yoga teacher, you will actually become a better teacher. If you can approach teaching with a humble, grateful heart you will be a better teacher. If you can tap into the beginner’s mind I also believe you become a better teacher. I believe you are better able to hold space, and teaching yoga is very much about holding space. Holding space for questions, thoughts, reflections, emotions, traumas… Holding space for each and every person. I think perhaps after being a student, holding space, in my opinion, is the most important thing. Holding space also means that you don’t tell students what to do. You do not tell them how to feel or what to think. You simply hold space for them.
So please, never stop educating yourself. Never stop being a student.