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The Giving Mentality of Yoga Teachers

For most of you who are yoga instructors there was probably a turning point in your personal practice that caused you to realize you wanted to teach yoga. For me, it was the strong desire to help others feel the healing benefits of yoga that I had experienced.

Before attending a yoga class, I had been looking for a space to let go of my anxiety, breathe, and stay fit. Friends had encouraged me to give yoga a try and when I first stepped on the mat, I knew I had found what I was looking for!

Yoga instructors form a vibrant, loving community of people who share so much in common including their giving personality. Whether it is in giving the best overall class experience, building a relationship with all who enter the class, or wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of their students, this giving nature is usually at the top of the list of what draws someone to teach yoga.

Recently beYogi conducted a survey about the “State of the Yoga Industry”. One of the questions was, “Thinking about the next 6-12 months, what is your biggest concern/fear as a teacher?” the list included student safety, job security, financial security, quality instruction, student fears, prevalence of virtual offerings, and social media.

By far, Student Safety was the biggest concern, which overwhelmingly tells us just how strong the giving mentality of the yoga teacher is. 

As we are approaching the holiday season – a time of giving; this is a great opportunity to delve into just how loving and supportive yoga teachers are and to let you – the yoga instructors we love know how much you give.

Beyond providing a physical outlet to release tension in body and mind, there are a myriad of ways that Yoga teachers give on a regular basis, so I thought I would start with the top four that pop into my head as a yoga teacher and student.

You are Aware of Individual Safety and Providing a Safe Space

Creating a space of inclusion, openness, and calm build the foundation of a safe class environment. As we know, the word yoga literally translates to union.

Union between body and mind, between the internal world and external world, and in the community that is created in each class.

As a yoga instructor, you work hard to create a calm, open environment for all who enter in order for each student to create a safe space to tune in, explore their body and mind, and carry a piece of the yoga class into the world.

With that in mind, keeping an eye on each person in class and offering verbal or physical adjustments to remain safe in the pose and feel the full benefits of that pose is of the utmost importance. This is done with care, not judgment for each and every student.

You Give So Much Motivation

As yoga instructors, we learn quickly that the theme of a yoga class sets the pace for that class. From the very beginning words make a difference.

The tone of the words used to describe getting in and out of a pose, offering positive advice to listen to your body, explore the pose, and invite new sensations are all little gifts of positive motivation scattered through the yoga class.

Some instructors start and end their classes with quotes and share philosophy. After a while, these words can become a bigger reason to maintain a consistent practice as they help with letting go of stuck habits that are no longer of service and provide new ways to view the ego, the self, the world and our reactions to it all.

You Listen with Care

Yoga teachers are great listeners! Every yoga instructor I have taken a class from has made an impact on my life because of the awareness they have. They listen with their ears, hearts, and eyes.

By doing so you learn how the benefits of yoga are sinking into your students’ lives. This enables the ability to watch all class participants to make sure all is safe and well and make any necessary adjustments to your teaching through the feedback this attention to detail provides.

One of my favorite aspects of teaching yoga is when people feel secure enough to share their yoga experience and what brought them to the mat, as well as how yoga has changed their life.

Hearing how yoga made a difference in someone’s life physically and mentally is so rewarding.

As well as listening to the positive outcomes from a consistent yoga practice, it is inspiring to be able to discuss the ways someone can connect to their body more and feel the full impact of the poses on a deeper level.

You Teach the Balance of Breath and Body

As the practice of yoga provides the physical benefits of flexibility, strength, and endurance as well as the healing benefits of learning how to connect to the breath and clear the mind, yoga instructors offer guidance to master these components.

By paying attention to the various needs of those who enter your class and offering a well rounded sequence of poses for all levels from the beginner to the advanced student, teaching provides an opportunity to help in achieving the physical goals of flexibility, strength, and endurance.

Teaching the mindful, breathing practices of Pranayama are an extremely important component in yoga classes as well.

By introducing your students to the healing benefits of slowing down, being aware of how their breath effects their mental and physical being, and encouraging them to include these techniques in their daily lives, you are providing balance and the ability for internal growth.

Being a yoga instructor is an empowering way to share the life changing teachings of yoga.

Now, more than ever it is so important to provide this healing tradition to help people find a safe space to explore and release tension in body and mind and draw awareness to habits that are no longer serving them.

Creating community, offering motivational guidance through words and gestures, listening, and creating awareness of the mind/body connection are a true gift and I am so happy to know there are so many wonderful givers ready to do so! Thank you!

Michelle Finerty
Michelle Finerty
Michelle has been writing professionally for over a decade. She started in the business world, focusing on cross-cultural communication and technical writing, and is now infusing the teachings of yoga with modern life, blending two of her and writing. Michelle also teaches yoga. Receiving her teacher training in Vinyasa Yoga in 2007 and adding Prenatal and Kids Yoga after becoming a mother. In her spare time, Michelle likes to meditate, hike, and read.