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Why We Teach Yoga

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P1000452Every teachers inspiration to teach yoga is very individualistic and often comes from their lifestyle and personal circumstances for example working with children or bringing it to their favoured sports people. This is a good thing because it can put some purpose into applying yoga skills to professional practice. It is often a more powerful drive than simple claims to sharing the benefits of personal practice. Of course we have to do both when we get down to it but these days more than ever with all those budding yoga teachers emerging every year we would do well to have a personal calling or niche.

Teaching yoga is often a great addition for those with a dancing background as they are already used to “performing”and many of these adhere well to vinyasa or flow yoga where if they are also creative can offer some interesting choreographed sequencing.

We have to remember that while the West currently holds the stage for yoga and tends to demonstrate this mostly as asana practice there are other areas of yoga that can be exploited and can still have appeal to many students.

It's easy to forget the great value of yoga breathing and also meditation which is probably the strongest part of Patanjalis message in his great Yoga Sutras on the shoulders of which most modern yoga practice is built.

You may be strong in this introspective part of yoga and in creating a relaxing mood with candles and incense or knowing just what kind of music to play and lighting to create the right ambiance.

You may have a more playful style of teaching that appeals to those looking for that off beat kind of teacher.

There are also those often overlooked areas in this modern day of the dynamic and physical and that is Restorative Yoga with its supportive props and therapeutic and remedial approach. You may have to provide the props but if you can get the cooperation of a venue for storage then this has growing appeal for those who want to sink into the releasing experience of calmness and ease.

I have only mentioned a few but you probably get the idea and if you are thinking of teaching yoga now's the time to start thinking of who you want to appeal to and with some idea of a theme. A teaching course should give you the methodology and safety and start of anatomy knowledge etc but start thinking now of your target audience and what difference can you make. Whatever flavour of yoga teaching you want to adopt you will still have to strongly bring yourself to the attention of the “yoga community” and tell them all about it.

I have taught in may gyms as well as having my own studio and I know that many people find it convenient to add the yoga experience to their gym membership which is fine but there are also many who want the personal and close contact of the studio and more yoga that doesn't just resemble aerobic exercise.

It's not easy to set up a private practice even in an already existing yoga studio. It takes time and patience. Once a budding yoga teacher I new who had a marketing background said the best way to build a yoga class was to get out into the community, find out what people want and then give it to them. A good marketing slogan but the fact is so many people want different things these days and that's probably because they are also different. So why can't you as a new yoga teacher be different and then sell them the difference. Remember in the end you are trying to bring your students a unique experience one where they can go away feeling more whole and human.

You may also find my post on Yoga:To Teach or not to Teach, useful reading.

Barry Todd, Senior Yoga Teacher at Mind and Body Yoga Studio and Course Tutor on Yoga Teacher Training

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