For yoga teachers, it is important that you not only find your own style of teaching but to be comfortable and confident with this approach. Your personal, core beliefs should transcend to your teaching and become your yoga values and goals.
New yoga teachers can easily lose sight of why they decided to embark on teacher training; hours spent learning anatomy, practicing sequences, and attending teacher training classes are a big commitment and may drain your energy. After completing your teacher training, it is important to reconnect with your and bring them with you to the mat. Your yoga values and goals do not need to be monumental or unique, they just need to be personal to you. Defining these will not only help highlight your teaching style but also give your teaching consistency.
Identifying Your Values and Goals
Defining your core values and goals will help guide your teaching journey. Yogi Maris Aylward developed a great values exercise perfectly tailored to yoga instructors.
Her values assessment is based on three simple foundations and questions:
- Intention: Why do you teach yoga?
- Method: How do you achieve your intention?
- Benefit: What do you want your students to experience?
Why do you teach yoga? Dig deep for each of these values assessments and explore what brought you to yoga teacher training. Was it a certain instructor who inspired you? A specific class or yoga experience? What were the feelings you had when you embarked on yoga teacher training? Who were the people that kept you motivated and inspired? Think about these experiences and feelings to help define what your core values are around your intention for teaching yoga.
How do you achieve your intention? What messaging, cues, or motivations do you provide your students to loop back to your intention for teaching yoga? For example, Maris Aylward mentions that she focuses on inclusiveness in her teaching. She states, “I encourage people to let go of competitiveness and harsh judgment as they breathe and move mindfully.”
What do you want your students to experience? Now you’ve uncovered why you teach yoga and how to bring those intentions to your style of teaching. But, when a student leaves your class, what do you their experience to have been? Is your class a place for yogis to take a break from their hectic lives? A place for your students to be mindful, learning, and discovering how their body moves with their breath? Identify what your goal is for your students and bring that to each class you teach.
Determining your core values and goals will not only help you perform better as a yoga instructor, will help you in all aspects of your life. Values are not ethics or morals we follow, values are about what is important to us and what gives us purpose. Your core values should permeate everything you do from your work to home life. This holistic approach to values will help you be a better leader, coach, and inspiration in all you do. Identifying your yoga values is just one part of being a yoga teacher. Dive deeper into your teaching practice to overcome your fear of teaching yoga and find your niche.