Our teacher training program at GDY includes a good deal of time for personal inquiry and reflection. We think this is important in helping students transition from student to teacher. When I became a yoga teacher the program I took gave us ample opportunity to reflect, meditate, and write in addition to all of the normal things you do in a YTT. One of the writing questions we needed to answer was "What Makes a Good Yoga Teacher".
Maybe you are a yoga teacher or you dream of being a yoga teacher. If you need a writing prompt this is a good one. Set a timer for 5 minutes and let yourself write it out. Don't over think it, just write. What comes to mind?
This was one of the assignments our trainee's had during the first trimester of their YTT. While our sweet group of trainees wrote I decided it would be a good idea for me to write out my thoughts on this as well.
Here is what I came up with riffing for 5 minutes...
A good yoga teacher is someone who can simultaneously teach a challenging physical class, all the while weaving in yoga philosophy, pranayama, and maybe even chanting. All in order to help the student achieve a sense of union with the divine. Helping the student transcend all of the physical and mental clutter that pulls us out of the moment. The teachers ultimate goal is helping the student achieve their own objectives thus helping them journeying into their true self. Juggling all of this while knowing what to say when you see someone out of alignment and helping the student learn to bring the body back into alignment. It is through the physical that we can access the spiritual, and beyond. A good teacher pays attention to what is happening in their students bodies throughout the class. A good teacher is able to get the students uncomfortable and do it with humor and compassion. If we can learn to live with the uncomfortable in our bodies we can start to be comfortable with the uncomfortable we find in our minds. What else makes a good teacher? Hands on adjustments, 10 minute savasana (always a 10 minute savasana) and above all boundaries and grace.
That is what I strive to do, be, and posses as a yoga teacher. Those are the characteristics I look for in the teachers I practice with.
Looking at what I came up with it feels like I created a yoga super hero. "Super hero/Yoga teacher" but we've all gotta have goals right? These are mine. If you are a yoga teacher or a yoga taker I'm sure you've got an opinion on this and your answers will be most likely be pretty different. I want to hear what you've come up with. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think makes a good yoga teacher.