An amazing yoga teacher can have a huge impact! They can uplift and inspire us, they can help us relax and rejuvenate, they can even help us break down mental barriers we didn’t know we had.
Although there is no one image of the quintessential yoga teacher, there are definitely some qualities that all great teachers have.
Let’s see them.
1. They connect with the whole class
A grandmaster can teach a class to 50 people just as effectively as a class of 5, since they have the ability to make everyone feel connected to them in some way (even the person in the back corner trying to not attract attention).
2. They have a way with words
A yoga teacher’s voice is perhaps their most powerful tool. Being able to safely lead a group of people in and out of poses using words alone can be challenging enough, but doing it in a smooth and clear way that keeps the flow of the class going is the mark of a great teacher.
3. They leave their ego at the door
They understand that the purpose of the class is not about their own practice. It is to lead and support their students through a yoga experience and with this in mind they teach and demonstrate postures that are appropriate for the level of the class. Egoless teachers are willing to share their wisdom and knowledge openly and can totally laugh at themselves when they make a mistake.
4. They love (and respect) Yoga
Yoga works on the mind, body and spirit. This holistic approach is what makes yoga more than just a stretching class and a great teacher can easily find the balance between the physical and the esoteric. His deep love and respect for this amazing science can be a real source of energy and inspiration for his students.
5. They let their authentic personality shine through.
No matter what we do, we will do better the more authentic we are and a yoga teacher is no different. Joking around at the right time in a class can really relax everyone and lead to lightheartedness and confidence, but it works best when the teacher has a natural sense of humor. If the authentic personality of a teacher is to be warm, compassionate and teach from their heart, they will create a truly beautiful and constructive class.
This could be a moot point, as some people like to create a specific lesson plan, while others support a more spontaneous and intuitive style of teaching. Either way, a great teacher will have given time and thought to how they are going to put together a class and it usually results in a better experience for their students. The preparation also takes into account arriving early to class, staging and creating an environment, concern for the students, respect, affection…
7. They cater to all levels
These days, many yoga classes are open level, meaning there will be a range of abilities, from beginner to advanced. Yoga can be intimidating for beginners and it is a real skill for a teacher to make them feel supported and included without compromising the rest of the more advanced students.
8. They share their knowledge
None of us wants to listen to a lecture at the beginning of classes about the history of yoga and the great teachers, but it is comforting when a teacher knows his subject perfectly. Whether they confidently explain the medical benefits of poses or offer variations for people with injuries or limitations, by demonstrating their knowledge they gain credibility, which ties in nicely with the next point.
9. They build trust
When we have 100% trust in a yoga teacher, we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and test our limits, both mentally and physically. If you’ve ever had a teacher like that you’ll understand what I mean. They can help us take our practice to a whole new level, to a place where we can truly begin to transform, both on and off the mat.
10. Share your Light
Perhaps the most important point of all, an amazing yoga teacher is a beacon of light and will willingly share that light with everyone around them, making their class a very special place to be.