As a yoga instructor, it’s no secret that you’re often the one doing the mentoring.
Think about it.
You’re the one helping to deepen someone else’s practice. You’re the one bestowing advice to your students. You’re the one passing on wisdom, light, and love to those who wish to learn from you.
Don’t get us wrong, this is a phenomenal part of your journey as a yoga teacher—and we’re willing to bet something that you find rewarding, fulfilling, and maybe even a little fun.
It’s one of the many benefits that go hand-in-hand with being a yoga teacher.
But sometimes, we cannot truly fill other’s cups until we’ve filled ours.
That is to say, even though you’re typically the yoga mentor that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a yoga mentor of your own.
No matter how far you’ve come in your career, no matter how deeply passionate you are about yoga, and no matter how advanced you might be in all aspects of your practice, a mentor is still one of the greatest gifts you can give your practice and yourself.
Why? We’re going to dive into that and more.
Keep reading to find out what characteristics you should seek in a yoga mentor.
Why Yoga Instructors (Like You) Should Consider a Yoga Mentor
Thankfully, the idea of having a mentor or instructor—even though you’re an instructor yourself—is not an entirely new concept in yoga.
In fact, having a yoga mentor, coach, teacher (whatever you’d like to call it) is relatively normal and a big part of yoga culture and any instructor’s yoga journey.
Having a yoga mentor can revolutionize your practice and your life—if you can choose a mentor that understands you.
The challenging part?
Figuring out when to find a yoga mentor and learning how to find the right mentor for you, your practice, and your future.
It’s important to remember that selecting a yoga mentor goes far beyond someone who can challenge you, teach you, and help you improve in just the realm of your physical asana.
A yoga mentor should be well-rounded in the eight limbs and unafraid to push you further in your personal and professional yoga journey.
In other words, yoga mentors should offer you what you offer to other students—clarity, inspiration, kindness, self-love, wisdom, meditation, advice, guidance, and beyond.
The Benefits of a Yoga Mentor
Though the advantages of finding a yoga mentor who can speak to you on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level are vast and diverse, there are a few universal benefits that any and every yoga instructor can glean from leaning into the idea of acquiring a yoga mentor.
A phenomenal yoga instructor will teach you:
- How to find a deeper connection and broader understanding of your practice
- New ideas for sequences, meditation, and lessons to take back to your students
- Experiences that humble you as a person and a teacher
- Challenges that make you think, grow, and change as a person and an instructor
- Wisdom, life lessons, and yoga guidance that would have taken you decades to learn on your own
- Respect for those who came before you and respect for those who come after you
- The importance of looking to someone with more experience for guidance
- The confidence to make your yoga practice your own
- How to identify your why in yoga
How to Find Your Yoga Mentor: What Every Instructor Should Seek in a Mentor
Not sure how to find your ideal yoga mentor? The first thing you should do is push away the idea of perfection.
No one—not even the most skilled, wise, or advanced yogi—is perfect. Any mentor you learn from is going to have something in common with you—they’re human.
While you should seek someone who speaks to your soul, challenges you, and makes you a better person and yogi, it’s crucial to understand that the perfect mentor does not exist.
There can, however, be a mentor that is perfect for you.
When seeking a mentor, look for characteristics that speak to you on multiple levels, that push you to be better, and that challenge your mind.
Try to find a mentor that can offer you a variety of characteristics, like:
Confidence To Help Boost Others
A phenomenal mentor always walks the line between confidence and arrogance—and they’re not afraid to explain the difference.
Mentors know that they know their stuff and they’re proud to teach it to you—but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand humility and integrity.
Wisdom From Experience
A good mentor knows things. And we don’t just mean beautiful sequences or how to meditate seamlessly at the drop of a hat.
A good mentor understands what makes someone wise and isn’t afraid to offer you their wisdom and experience.
Further, a good mentor knows that their wisdom wasn’t sourced from their own experiences alone.
They know their mentors, they have mentors, and they understand credit where credit is due.
Originality In Their Practice & Teaching
A good mentor has their own style and marches to the beat of their own drum—but that doesn’t mean they’re insistent on turning you into a carbon copy of them.
A good mentor thrives in originality and encourages your own, too.
Tough (But Persistent) Love
There’s no guarantee that your perfect-for-you mentor comes in the form of someone that looks like your best friend.
A great mentor will love and encourage you but isn’t afraid to challenge and frustrate you.
They know that tough love is a useful tool when it’s backed by genuine love and understanding.
Guidance To Encourage Growth
This doesn’t mean step-by-step directions.
A good mentor will encourage you to think for yourself, won’t tell you what to do, and will stand by you as your make decisions, mistakes, and changes.
A mentor doesn’t want to watch you fail, but they don’t want to write the rulebook to your life, either.
A good mentor will guide you when needed and be there when things don’t go as planned.