The Service of Teaching Yoga


Teaching yoga is a wonderful service to humanity, and an honorable livelihood. It is a privilege for any yoga teacher to assist students, to help someone to relieve their physical or emotional pain, to help them feel empowered, flexible, sensitive and more mindful.

To be successful as a yoga teacher requires an understanding of the following:

  1. Yoga philosophy: provides the basis and context for teaching the components of yoga as both a science and art.
  2. Science of Yoga: is focused on posture alignment, modifications, use of props, posture sequencing, breathing techniques, and organization of the course curriculum.
  3. Art of Yoga: is the teaching skills, teacher’s presence, use of voice, verbal instructions, observation skills, and adjustments.
  4. Presence and performance: alignment, form, knowledge and demonstration of poses, sensitivity, attitude of enthusiasm, inspiration and mindfulness.

Effective yoga teacher can recognize that the spiritual aspect of the practice is more important than the physical.

Great yoga teacher is compassionate, sensitive to other’s feelings and perceptions, friendly, kind, patient and respectful. Great yoga teacher is positive, inspiring, enthusiastic with a good sense of humor, peaceful. It is important that yoga teachers understand they serve a community of students, not fixing them. The service of teaching yoga is a relationship of equals.

Even though the interpersonal qualities are the key to being a great yoga teacher, technical knowledge and experience are also necessary. The best yoga teachers use their interpersonal skills and their technical knowledge to bring a student to a place of transformation so the positive change can take place in their whole being. Proper yoga teaching service includes modifications that take into account student’s individual challenges and their therapeutic needs.

Yoga teacher must be aware that each student is unique- physically, emotionally and mentally. The teacher must be able to create ways to motivate, inspire, and meet every student at their own level. The depth of teacher’s experience, confidence, maturity and authority is important to a successful guidance and mentoring. The trust of the group is directly proportionate to the depth of a teacher.

Yoga teacher deliberately cultivates the ability to connect energetically with all students, and is able to blend technical knowledge with interpersonal qualities and social skills to create atmosphere of openness and curiosity where transformation can take place.

The service of teaching yoga is a responsibility, privilege and honor.