The desire to share the practice of Ashtanga is an honorable one. The actual practice of teaching, however, is no small responsibility. It’s a lifelong journey that requires constant study, devotion, and humility. Starting to teach can be a daunting proposition, but there are 4 simple ways you can set yourself up for success as a conduit of this beautiful tradition.
The saying that “those who can’t do teach” doesn’t apply to yoga. Stay grounded in your practice –it’s the best way to learn how to teach it. Remember that the reason you want to share this practice is that you love it. In all likelihood, it’s changed your life for the better, and continues to make moving through the world an easier and fuller experience each day. Let that motivate you to get on the mat, practicing Ashtanga yoga at home six days a week if possible. You can’t teach this practice without living it. Lucky for you that you enjoy it!
2. Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training
A 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training is a great way to get guidance in the practice of sharing Ashtanga yoga. While growing as a teacher and practitioner is a lifelong journey, a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga instructor training can give you a good grounding in important topics such as adjustment, anatomy and philosophy. You’ll benefit from the hard-earned wisdom of an experienced teacher, and develop a solid support system of fellow trainees to call on as you begin teaching. As a bonus, you’ll receive an Ashtanga yoga teacher certification, which can be necessary for employment, and can be a helpful validation of your credentials, especially when you’re just starting out.
You’re not finished once you’ve got your certification. Never stop studying. Be voracious in your reading habits. Have a stack of yoga books by your bed that you’re always working your way through. Practice, practice, practice. Seek out training – whether it be in a classroom, workshops, or even another teacher training. Just because you have a RYT-200 doesn’t mean you can’t go back to school. Doing an Ashtanga yoga teacher training in 2014, perhaps in a rejuvenating locale like the beaches of Nicaragua or Greece, can be a great way to refocus your practice and reground your teaching. Constantly learning will invigorate and inspire your teaching, giving you an ever-growing teaching toolbox to work from.
4. Stay a Student of Ashtanga Yoga
Let your students be your teachers. The less willing you are to take on the role of “teacher,” the better teacher you’ll be. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share your knowledge – it just means that you should never let yourself think you know everything, or maybe even anything. Stay on an equal footing with your students, even as you teach them, and you’ll be able to reach them in ways you would never be able to if you let yourself be put on a pedestal. Studenthood, whether it be in your own classroom, in your home, or at an Ashtanga yoga teacher training, is central to teaching. To teach like a professional, stay a student forever.