By Bhavan Kumar
Good teachers in any domain create an environment in which people want to return to again and again. They accept students for who they are and what they can do, while tactfully guiding students to improve and succeed. The most effective Yoga teachers have a way of communicating that is kind and empathetic. Teachers can certainly let their personalities shine, that is what makes most exceptional Yoga teachers well-loved. When it comes to ego, or sense of self, Yoga teachers should check it at the door in order to provide a positive learning experience for the students. Good teachers put the students’ needs ahead of their own, and put most of the focus on the students, as opposed to the teachers.
The philosophy of yoga includes the belief that ego can be an affliction that drives people to act in ways that cause problems in life; materialism, greed, jealousy. Letting go of the ego can bring enlightenment and allow people to live according to their souls and innermost selves. Therefore, yoga teachers especially need to learn how to teach without letting their own ego get in the way. Ego can make a yoga teacher feel superior to his or her students, making the importance of the class lie with the teacher’s perfect execution of each pose. Ego can take the focus of yoga away from the students, putting it on the instructor.
Yoga teachers can learn to release their ego by practicing self-awareness. Teachers should always be aware of how the students are reacting to the class. If the Yoga class doesn’t seem to be going well, perhaps the teacher needs to slow down, review poses, or help students with individual needs a little more. Instead of getting annoyed at the students, or taking negative emotions out on the class, Yoga instructors need to ask themselves what they can do differently to meet the needs of the students.
Another helpful idea for yoga teachers is to ask a colleague or mentor to join the class and provide them with valuable feedback. Perhaps they will be able to see things overlooked by the teacher. The more experience a teacher has, the easier it will be to become the teacher they strive to be, leaving the ego behind. Teachers can learn as much from their teaching experiences as the students learn about yoga.
Teaching yoga is a dynamic profession. To really succeed, Yoga instructors need to be able to admit shortcomings, seek help, and change as necessary. All good teachers are also great Yoga students. They are never satisfied that what they are doing is truly best for the students. Good Yoga teachers have a thirst for knowledge and are constantly seeking to improve. True yoga teachers release their egos for the good of the students.
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