The lessons I learnt as a Yoga Teacher

It is said that – to learn, you need to teach. How true! I came to understand that as I began teaching after my yoga teacher training in Bali.

When I first started out learning yoga, I had no thoughts about teaching it whatsoever. I was just looking for a fitness regime that would keep me toned the way most of us wanted to look. I sincerely adhered to my daily practice and somehow, my goal and motivation shifted along the way. It was no longer just about a toned body, but more about how it made me feel about myself. I went from the extreme of being always stressed out to being serenely calm. Whereas initially I would get frustrated in a still pose for a length of time, soon enough I could not perceive any different way of performing asanas.A few years of practice later, I came to the realization that I wanted to take up teaching yoga. I had benefited so much from the practice that I wanted others to gain too. I wanted others to experience the kind of calmness that I did as well as become stronger, both physically and mentally. And with this objective, I enrolled up for a yoga teacher training course.

As I began teaching and taught more and more students, my enthusiasm began to waver. I became humbled with the experience of my students teaching me far more than I could teach them. In a way, knowing so much made me feel that I knew so little.

My first lesson was that even though I knew what to teach, I didn’t know how to teach it. My first batch of students showed me how everyone and everybody could be different. It taught me to be more attuned to the needs of each individual and not treat them as a class.Soon, at the beginning of every class, I began to ask my students what they were hoping to achieve from the class. On one occasion, a group of student stated that they wished to sweat and feel tired. I decided to tailor the class to a vinyasa-style session, only to soon realize that this was a mistake. The students were struggling to keep up. They were rushing through each asana, wanting to keep up with the others.
I realized that while I had listened to what they wanted, I had failed to analyze the situation. That whether they were ready for a high-powered class? Lesson learnt: listen to others, but don’t forget to ask yourself as well.

At another training session I was with a student who practiced a combination of several standing and seated asanas. The more instructions I gave, the faster she breathed. I soon realized that the instructions were making her nervous. She was unable to focus her mind properly, thus becoming even more stressed.

I paused my cues, and asking her to breath in deeply. I learned my biggest lesson yet when she calmed down. That yoga is not about the fancy asanas; it is about calming the mind. Sometimes breathing is all you need