Let’s face it, the moment you read that title “yoga teacher stereotypes”, an image of a stereotypical yoga teacher popped into your head.
We chose a career that involves a ton of:
It also does not involve a ton of:
Many would ask, “is the juice worth the squeeze?”, and most yoga teachers would reply “yes”.
It certainly takes a specific type of person to decide to teach yoga.
So who are these humans who choose to play advanced Simon Says (but spiritual), put their whole hearts and souls into every class, and what do they have in common?
Well for starters…
People assume that yoga teachers mostly just do yoga and meditate all day long so they must be sooo chill.
We’re all hippies that lather ourselves up in essential oils all day and chant along to Krishna Das in the car on the way to class.
And they’re not wrong.
But most of us need yoga because we are not so laid back. In fact during that hour-long car ride across town in traffic to get to the studio, we probably flipped off at least one driver under the steering wheel, and jammed out to Bass nectar or Diplo (or metal…no? just me? okay.)
People assume in yoga teacher training we learn every pose in all of yoga– especially if they don’t actually do yoga. They also assume we must get a workout “doing” all those yoga classes every day!
The fact is, yoga teachers come in all shapes, sizes, bone structure, and genetics. Which all affect our ability to do a pose.
Oh, and interest level is a thing. Some of us love a good Restorative or Yin practice and aren’t really all that interested in sticking our legs behind our heads.
This one is absolutely true! Yoga tames the crazy within. That’s why we love it so much and believe it will solve all of the world’s problems (it will).
And that’s precisely why we teach yoga. To spread the healing, grounding, freeing, acceptance that we found through the practice.
Back pain? Try yoga! Anxiety? Try yoga! Migraines? Try yoga? Depression? Yoga! Existential crisis? YOGA!!!
Clearly yoga helped us process and get through some big life event. So we poured our hearts, souls, sweat, and money into a yoga teacher training program so that we could share that healing with the world.
People think we wake up with the sunrise to meditate, chant, do yoga, play our singing bowls, light incense, and journal about how grateful we are.
But some of us just wake up early to get our Ashtanga practice on – or because we teach the 6am class.
In summary, we’re not all super spiritual, but we are mostly pretty spiritual people.
Considering our career choice, you would think that we don’t care about money.
But, we also believe that expensive yoga teacher trainings and workshops are worth every dime. We know that yoga studio memberships aren’t cheap – and believe they are worth it, maybe even necessary. We spend money on travel for yoga festivals and retreats – that all cost money, by the way, like a lot of it.
Maybe we just have weird relationships to money because we’re spiritual and somehow think that wanting to make a good living makes usless spiritual.
This stereotype may have some truth to it. But at the end of the day, money is just energy, like everything else. So maybe this one will eventually become a myth, like that old myth that yoga was only for men because only men could be holy.
“The universe is telling me…”
“Visualize a rainbow of love and light beaming from your heart chakra and send that love and light all across the world…”
“Now reach your arms out like the wings of a beautiful butterfly soaring across the sky…”
Okay, we totally deserve this stereotype.
As a yoga teacher myself, I have met a lot of yoga teachers and I can attest to the fact that we are NOT all love and light.
Great big hearts? Yes. Huge love for humans. Definitely – you can’t teach a yoga class and not want the best for your students. You have to care about them to guide them through a yoga practice.
But we are just a bunch of human beings. That sometimes curse. And sometimes drink wine. And sometimes talk smack. And sometimes have less than loving thoughts about the drivers who cut us off, or exes who cheated on us, and may or may not be control freaks…just a little bit.
Okay, remember when that hashtag #NotAllMen was a thing? Well #NotAllYogaTeachers are into astrology.
#NotAllYogaTeachers are concerned about, or informed about, or even give a downdog about what’s happening with Mercury or the moon or whatever planet is in retrograde.
So, in summary, while yoga teachers have a ton in common, we are a diverse breed of kind of crazy, very loving individuals who truly just want to help people. We are not perfect. And we don’t fit into any tidy stereotype boxes.
Just like everyone else, we do our best to be our best. If you’re a yoga teacher reading this – cut yourself some slack if you didn’t chant 108 times this morning or if you messed up your left and right. And if you’re a student, thank your yoga teacher next time you see them. They basically get paid in appreciation.