Yoga Teachers, Why Do You Teach?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

Last weekend during my 200 HR yoga teacher training, we were having a discussion about bringing passion into our teaching.  I asked my teacher trainees, “What is your sole motivation for teaching? Why are you doing this?”

Seriously, let’s get beyond that you “love” yoga, you enjoy wearing yoga pants and patchouli, being a yoga teacher is cool and sexy and it fits your schedule nicely.

The best way to bring true passion into your teaching is to get clear on your motivation.

CAUTION: If the reason has not moved beyond you, it’s gonna be damn hard to get excited about your teaching.  I’ve been there.  This will inevitably lead to boredom in you and your students.  If you are concerned about how you look and how the students are liking the class, it is still about you.  If your motivation has moved beyond you to something about others, it becomes easy.

I shared with the trainees that if you know your motivation for teaching, you have something to get excited about and the passion will flow freely.  When you don’t know why you are teaching and or it’s all about you, teaching becomes like trying to tell a joke over and over when no one is getting it. You are left to wallow in the crap of figuring out the HOW and it becomes completely self obsessed and disconnected…..”how do I look?’, “do they like me”,  “what should I say next” and on and on.  In the mean time, while you are processing those self-centered thoughts, the class is moving on without you!

After some journaling, we went around and each trainee shared some really awesome reasons for teaching yoga.  Their eyes lit up as they shared and light bulbs went on all over the room.

Of course after they all shared, I felt all eyes on me and they asked,

“What is your motivation for teaching?”

I paused for a bit and then my answer came out, “To me, yoga is the difference between living or not.”  I got some weird looks, so I explained further.

Whether I get into my breath for 5 minutes or 90, I am able to detach from my minds limited ideas of my life.   In the midst of this detachment, I have the experience of being alive.  In these moments, I am living.  Everywhere else, I am watching some weird movie in my head about my life that replays over and over and over.  It’s that simple.  I want to share this gift of life with others.

So yes, when I teach, I am sharing a vehicle for life with my students.  This is a huge freakin’ deal!  If I truly believe that yoga is the difference between living and not, how can I not be passionate about what I’m teaching?  When I remind myself of WHY I am teaching, the HOW becomes extremely easy.

Teachers, let’s talk about it. What is your sole motivation for teaching?  Do you bring this into your teaching and if so, how does it show up?

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Stacy is a regular contributor at Yoga Modern and co-founder of LIVE LOVE TEACH. Along with her husband Dave, she owns The Yoga Project in Arlington, TX. She travels world wide facilitating teacher trainings and programs. Stacy also travels across the U.S. teaching workshops and presenting at conferences, sharing her love and passion of yoga with others. Stacy has mentored many teachers across the US and loves to empower them in their teaching and lives! Find Stacy on Facebook here

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