Yoga might seem like an easy to teach. Calling out the name of postures, cycling throughout the room, and sometimes gently fixing a participant’s alignment might not seem like a big deal to those on the outside.
Instructing yoga is unchallenging. You will be forgetting the hours of training, book-reading, and studying that comes with the certification. Afterward, the instructor continues getting educated, pushing them towards further understanding – because yoga is ongoing. So why would anyone do it? For me, the reasons are simple:
To be of service
Having done yoga since the beginning of high school (going on 11 years now), I have long relied on the therapeutic benefits of the practice. Yoga was a huge element in getting me through an inferiority complex, low levels of fitness, an eating disorder, PTSD and various mental and physical injuries attained throughout life.
Yoga became the pillar that I turned to when nothing seemed right. I went to classes and saw instructors who’d been through similar events and issues using yoga as a means to connect to those seeking help as they had. I wanted to do the same.
I have always loved helping people. So I thought, yoga is all about the ethical treatment of oneself and others, paired with self-discovery. Why not be like my instructors and offer guidance? Why not show people their inner strength through yoga? I saw no reasons not to. Through yoga, I have helped people in ways unimaginable. I have received thanks so immense that it has changed who I am forever.
I will rarely say, ‘I teach yoga.’ Yoga is not something that can be taught, in my opinion. It is something you find inside. I merely serve as a guide, as a beacon for those who have not yet found a secure footing within their practice.
For those with more experience, I am only an echo that serves to remind them of what they might have forgotten, like musculoskeletal alignment or energy through the limbs. But regardless of what the yogis in the class seek, I will serve them to the best of my ability.
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Show kindness and compassion
As I mentioned earlier, yoga is not solely an exercise but a philosophy for which we can live at peace with the universe. Yoga teaches us to abandon the negative emotions accumulated throughout the day or week by breathing in the positive energies surrounding us. We connect with our true selves and to those around us on an inexplicable level.
In short, yoga has always been for me the kindness others didn’t show. When I needed someone to turn to, I turned to yoga to show me the innate power dwelling inside. My thoughts soared beyond my troubles to those I’ve met through my life and through yoga. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone and weak.
And so, on the same note of wanting to help others as I’d been helped, I wanted to give people a gentle touch, a kind smile, and an image of someone who’d be interminably patient with them. Even if the length of the class was merely 60 minutes, I wanted that time to be a period where people could simply breathe.
Creating a tranquil environment, being the figurehead of serenity, and sometimes even comic relief – those were things I have always strived for. As a yoga instructor, I could do just that.
Spread the joy of yoga
Describing yogic happiness with words is like trying to describe colors unseen by the human eye. There are no words, truly. It is something you need to discover for yourself. However, throughout the years, people I have met and discussed yoga with all agree on the following statement, ‘Yoga has brought light to my world.’
Whenever I teach yoga, I am often taken aback by the smiles on the faces of those who participated in my class. I know this is not solely my doing. I am merely a facilitator on their personal journey within themselves. But still, the gratitude received is just a glimmer of how joyful a yogic lifestyle can be.
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Whether you consider becoming a yoga instructor yourself or are only curious about the motives behind taking up such a title, I can only hope to shed some light with personal reasons. Others may see the role differently.
That said, if you love yoga, love helping others through their hardships without showing judgment, and know how to be compassionate, then you have the makings of a genuine yoga instructor. It is not a job that pays well with money, but you will be perpetually wealthy with joy.