How to Guide Your Students Through a Restful Savasana Practice
February 13, 2020
13 Yoga Mantras to Bring Only Good Vibes
February 19, 2020

Exclusive discussion for our Yoga Sutras readers. Save $20 on yoga teacher liability insurance by entering READ20 at checkout!

I love being a yoga teacher and consider it a true calling. Every day that I teach, I feel honored to be in this profession and have the freedom and flexibility to set my own schedule and share something that has been so influential in my life.

I have been practicing yoga for 19 years and teaching for 10. After experiencing the calming, transformative power of yoga in my own practice I decided to become certified to share the philosophy and poses of yoga with others in the hopes of bringing calm and balance to their lives.

I love everything about teaching. Creating a class theme, finding inspiration in quotes and yoga poses to support my theme, providing a space for people to connect their body, breath, and mind, and holding space for them to explore that connection as well as let go of the stresses of their daily lives.

As with anything, it took some time to get to this point in my teaching. I actually received my certification eleven years ago, but was so overwhelmed by everything I had learned in my teacher training that I doubted my worth of leading a class and not hurting anyone for awhile. I needed to take a step back and tune into my intention of why I wanted this profession in the first place.

By stepping back, continuing to go to yoga classes and work with my favorite teachers who inspired me, I felt confident enough to teach my own classes. What started as a one night a week Power Yoga class turned into 8-12 classes a week teaching Kids yoga, Prenatal yoga, Power yoga and Yin yoga.

Being at the front of a class and leading a room of people is intimidating. To this day, I take my seat on my mat at the front of the room and take a deep breath before I start talking because people are taking time out of their day to listen to what I have to say and guide them on their yoga journey. It's gratifying and yet it's scary. How will my words affect them? Will they stimulate growth? Will they come out the way I want them to?

Why do I teach yoga?

I want to make a difference and I truly believe that starts with reaching out to others. I love knowing that I’m helping to enhance the lives of the people who come to my classes. Being able to provide a break from the stress of their jobs, family, and the chattering voice in their minds is invigorating. Hearing people say how relaxed they are after class and how they notice a difference if they can’t make it to class is gratifying.

I believe I’m not only holding space for them, but also teaching them how to hold space for themselves.

It’s also important to me to get to know the people who attend my classes on a regular basis. Knowing their names and who they are as well as what brings them to their mats is crucial in being able to connect to their practice and keep them interested in growing.

It’s so important to me to create a community that is a safe space to pursue this growth. Sharing a flow of positive communication that can be passed on and change the world one person at a time, one moment at a time is an experience that I am truly grateful for.

What keeps bringing me back to my mat?

The fact that I keep learning more about yoga and about myself. The fact that I notice a difference in my body when I take a break. I notice the tightness in my body and the tension in my mind if I don’t have my yoga mat to stretch, flow, and breathe with.

I love the fact that I am able to educate people that there are more dimensions to yoga than just the physical poses.

But most importantly knowing  who I am as a student and an instructor and helping others find the yoga style that helps them embrace who they are is a significant reason I keep coming to my yoga mat day after day, week after week, month after month.

I count my blessings everyday because I not only am a better person as a result of the lessons of yoga, both on and off the mat, but because I had the space to grow and learn these things as I was ready for them.

What do my students mean to me?

I am constantly learning from my students. Learning how to provide the balance of stretching the body and connecting to the breath.  Learning how to help them clear their minds. Learning how to sit with the fact that I can’t make my classes easy or hard for them because they have to determine what they need and I can only give what I is authentic within me.

My classes are a constant example of impermanence. I have to continuously remind myself that as a yoga teacher, I am helping others spring forward on their journey and I am merely the tour guide offering suggestions, pointing out the sights to quench their appetite for adventure, and sharing in their journey. Some students become friends. Some acquire what they need and move on.

I love teaching yoga. I love standing at the helm and watching people blossom as they tune in to their bodies, minds, and spirits. I am honored to share space with each and every person who comes to my classes. They allow me a glimpse into their world and life journey and I feel blessed to share the moment.

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. Her classes can be found online by accessing her on-demand library which is updated on a regular basis. Check it out here: