The Importance of Being You as a Yoga Teacher
I have been teaching yoga since 2011 and only recently could I verbalize the essence of my teaching yoga. My role as a yoga teacher is to bring out the best in people and staying authentic enables me to do so. Respecting who I am and acknowledging my weaknesses.
As a yoga teacher, just as in my daily life, I embrace my imperfections which is part of my personality. The first thing we learn as a yoga teacher is that we have the responsibility to create a safe space where our students can feel at ease and comfortable enough to express themselves. With time I have gained confidence in my teaching abilities being more ‘me’, more authentic.
When a student feels its teacher’s confidence, the student becomes more at ease and benefits a lot more from the practice. I was once asked if as a yoga teacher you can teach poses you cannot do yourself, I quickly responded for sure there are many yoga poses that are not accessible to me and I pride myself in saying that I'm not there yet in my practice and it's okay. But I still inform my students that if it is part of their practice they are welcome to do the pose.
Showing your flaws will create a safe space for discussions and open genuine conversations between you and your students. Life is about relationships and to be able to bring out the best in people you need to know them. By telling them who you are, they will be more inclined to reciprocate. Some participants are more shy than others and it will take a while before telling you of some discomfort in a pose, for instance.
Teaching in Montreal has forced me to teach bilingual classes. I have been raised in a bilingual family (anglophone father and francophone mother) which enhanced my language skills. It is not always easy to offer simultaneous translations while practicing yoga. I have recently filmed a bilingual yoga class that I have uploaded on YouTube where I mentioned twice ‘cheekbone’ instead of ‘sit bone’. I could have stopped and reshoot this part of the video or done a voice-over but I decided to be me aka imperfect. When you are yourself people around you will also be themselves. Is it not easier to be ourselves anyways?
Take home message: Dare to be you and don’t be shy to show your true personality, your authentic self.
About Sarah Harding @asana.fitness
Sarah ,from Asana Fitness, discovered yoga during high school while visiting her local YMCA. She pursued her practice through college and university. One Friday evening, after a yoga class, her yoga teacher at the time asked if she had considered training to become a yoga teacher. With the desire to deepen her personal practice, but more out of curiosity, following the advice she received, she signed-up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training program offered by YogaFit Canada. Since 2011, she has been teaching various types of yoga, including chair yoga, yoga for children and for families, and yoga for all levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced), including in a corporate setting, while pursuing her consulting career in the field of environment.
Yoga has taught her stress management, and to control her breathing. Deepening her meditation practice allows her to live in the present moment.
Her objective is to share with others the serenity that yoga brings, on and beyond the mat. She promises that each sphere of your life will benefit and improve along with your yoga skills. Sarah lives in Montreal, Quebec with her family.
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