5 Great Reasons to Become a Yoga Teacher
by Melissa Shalongo, E-RYT 500, RCYT, YACEP
1. Deepen Your Understanding of Self
Let’s face it…there’s only so much you can learn from a yoga class, a dvd, or on-line instruction. Sure there’s plenty of value in having someone else guide you in your practice, but if you never look inside yourself for direction then you miss an invaluable opportunity to tap into your own inherent wisdom. The practice of yoga is meant to be a loving process of inquiry into the Self, not a one size fits all fitness program. With an in- depth understanding of the principles behind the postures, breath work, and other yogic techniques, you can cater your practice to meet your specific needs and present circumstances. As you learn to meet yourself where you are, utilizing your body’s sophisticated bio-feedback mechanisms, you gain the confidence necessary to rely upon your own inner guidance for authority. Yoga is a process of coming home to yourself, and as a teacher you can help inspire others to do the same.
2. Restore Your Health
Modern science is finally catching up to what eastern medicine has been saying for millennia – yoga is incredibly good for your health. Whether you’re approaching your practice from a physical, spiritual or mental stand point, the benefits are innumerable. In addition to some of the more common benefits such as an increase in strength, flexibility and balance, yoga can also serve as a powerful therapeutic tool for healing. Dr. Timothy McCall has compiled an impressive list of research studies documenting the efficacy of yoga in the following 75 health conditions. The body is incredibly wise, and like nature, will always seek balance or equilibrium. We as individuals however, get in the way of that intrinsic order by making choices that aren’t always in service of our health and wellbeing. And often times, these poor choices show up as automatic responses or habitual, unconscious patterns in our lives. The practice of yoga helps to bring these unconscious tendencies to light so that we can exercise our muscle of discernment wisely. As a teacher, you can help empower others to take back their health and restore their natural state of being through this powerful, transformative practice.
3. Tap into Your True Nature
Yoga addresses one of the more fundamental questions of our human existence which is simply, “Who am I?”. So much of our waking life is spent engaged with the external world (friends, families, work) that we tend to ignore or overlook the simple act of just being. Yoga implores us to go inside and witness our experience of being alive in a human body. Engaging our inner world in this way offers a felt sense of presence that isn’t as readily accessible otherwise. Focusing on our breath and the more subtle
aspects of being, we learn to slow down and stay present to our experiences. Where the mind can hijack us and take us elsewhere in time and space, our breath and body can keep us connected to the precious, yet fleeting, present moment. Through the practice of yoga we sharpen our awareness like a tool in an effort to directly experience our true nature, our highest and best selves. Self-realization is the primary goal of a yoga practice, and as a teacher, you can help shape the world by lighting the path for others.
4. Find Your Tribe
There’s something magical that happens when a group of individuals comes together to share in a powerful journey of self-transformation. YTT programs generate the sacred space necessary for authentic human connection – space for individuals to be seen, heard and impacted by others. Co-creating a conscious community built on mutual respect and shared values gives rise to a powerful sense of belonging. In an experiential learning environment we give ourselves and others permission to not know what we don’t already know. Curiosity is paramount and direct insights happen without expectation or judgment. YTT programs make learning fun, and make forging friendships easy.
5. Share Your Love with Others
The following quote speaks beautifully as to why individuals choose to teach anything – love.
“if you’ve ever loved, you’re already a teacher” – unknown
When we experience fullness, truth or beauty in life, I find there is a natural inclination to want to share that experience with others. When we give of ourselves in this way (from love) it never takes away from our experience, it only enhances it. I think the role of the teacher exists in all of us, we simply have to find that with which we love so much that we are compelled to share it with others. I found that love in yoga. What was once an act of self-care, or an “infinite refuge of self-love” turned into an expression of love for others once I became a teacher. It’s one small way I can make a positive impact in the world around me. The value that I find in practicing yoga is priceless, and sharing that passion with others brings more meaning to my life than I could ever imagine.