What Makes the Best Yoga Teachers Exceptional?

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What Makes the Best Yoga Teachers Exceptional?

exceptional yoga instructorBy Faye Martins

Can a Yoga certification course turn you into an extraordinary teacher? My answer is: “No.” It takes time, study, practice and the constant suppression of ego to teach Yoga classes. A truly exceptional Yoga teacher will embody the wisdom and grace of the Yogic path. Exceptional instructors consistently help their students break through their physical and emotional barriers in order to achieve the highest level of health and well-being for that particular individual.

A great teacher will also maintain a consistent, personal practice and continue to study, while refining his or her teaching skills. Additionally, an extraordinary teacher will not teach from a place of ego, but from an attitude of service to the students in each class.

The best Yoga instructors will maintain a consistent practice of asanas, pranayama, chanting, contemplation, and meditation in order to stay physically fit and in touch will the divine core of their own heart. This type of a person will continue to “romance the light” on a daily basis. This includes seeing the divine energy in all beings.

A teacher who is able to uplift his or her students from the embodiment of divine meditative and exuberant energy is truly special. A really, really exceptional teacher will effortlessly put you into a state of meditation while you flow through the poses.

Truly competent Hatha Yoga teachers are also able to encourage, motivate, and support their students to safely go beyond their preconceived physical and emotional limitations in order to go deeper into the practice. At the end of a class, you will feel that you were able to practice the asanas comfortably.

Under the guidance of such dynamic instructors, students learn about themselves and mental or physical techniques they never thought they would be able to do. Yoga students will feel alive and renewed, but not exhausted. This level of teaching is based on a nuanced sequencing of asanas, pranayama, and meditation, and other Yoga practices is challenging, but not overwhelming for the students in the class. An exceptional teacher will create a compassionate and supportive atmosphere for the students to work at the edge of their abilities, without pushing so hard that the students risk incurring an injury.

The best teachers are exceptional because they offer their teaching from a place of service and not a place of ego gratification. For example, let’s say that there is a ego driven Guru who is adept at difficult asanas and pranayama techniques. He or she is scheduled to teach a beginning Yoga training session at a local community center.

This teacher may be able to demonstrate difficult asanas easily and correctly, which is most likely gratifying to the teacher’s ego, but the asanas may be completely unapproachable for the students in the class. A much better way to teach a Yoga class is to tailor the asana sequences and other Yogic techniques to the students’ physical, mental, or emotional needs and abilities. This is one of many keys to becoming an exceptional teacher.

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