Yoga has survived for thousands of years and during that time many things have changed, but many of the root elements remain the same. And still every day more students fall in love with yoga, and every day more look to deepen their practice and become teachers. Teacher training programs are now found around the world, but some stand apart from others, often due to the quality of the teacher trainers. So, we thought we would explore the question: What makes a great yoga teacher trainer?
You hear this word thrown around a lot in the world of yoga, and there’s good reason for that. To become a good student of yoga, a person needs to have an awareness of what is happening in their body and what is going on in their minds. But teachers also need awareness, perhaps even more so than the students.
Yoga teachers can be as distracted as anyone else, running from studio to studio, thinking up new sequences or integrating new information. But when he or she walks into the studio to prepare for a class, all the distractions and chaos should evaporate and full attention should be paid to the students who are there to learn. Awareness also means being able to read the energy of the students — whether people are feeling excited or mellow, for example — and to adjust the lesson accordingly. A great teacher trainer with good awareness will immediately put the students at ease with his or her concentration and presence, and will help set the focus for the students.
A good teacher trainer will know what they are talking about. This sounds obvious, but there are a lot of yoga teachers out there who squeak by without knowing the anatomical inner workings or benefits of postures, for example. Not only is this dangerous for students, it’s a reflection of the poor teacher training experience they had.
There is an incredible amount of information to retain as a yoga teacher, and choosing this path means a life long journey of learning. A great yoga teacher trainer understands this and sets an example by continuously studying and passing on as much experience and information as possible to the students. On the other hand, no one can claim to know everything, so you know you are in good hands if your yoga teacher trainer can admit that they don’t have all the answers but comes to class next time having done more research.
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It can be intimidating to embark on the path of becoming a yoga teacher, and a great yoga teacher trainer will account for that and have a gentle approach. A great yoga teacher trainer will set the example for their students to be patient, helpful and inclusive, rather than short tempered, resentful and exclusive.
Everyone is bound to make mistakes or fall down from time to time, but a great yoga teacher trainer will teach their students how to get back up, and how to help others get back up, time and again. They will never call someone out or embarrass them for their mistakes or missteps, nor will they tolerate other people’s rudeness, instead they will guide the way with the example of their kindness.
Yoga is a beautiful path, there is no doubt about that, and a yoga teacher trainer who sees the joy in it will pass on that attitude to their students and it will have a ripple effect outward into the world. It’s not to say that yoga teachers need to be superhuman and not feel the stresses of the daily world and the pressures of modern society, but yoga is meant to give a person the tools to deal with stress in a constructive way. As a result, the default mode of a great yoga teacher trainer is one of joy.
You will know that your yoga teacher trainer is great if when they walk into the studio, they carry a lightness with them. Even if they’ve had a difficult day or week, the joy of being alive and well, and to have the opportunity to pass on the teachings of yoga should be at the forefront of their attitude.
So if you are looking for a teacher training program with quality teachers, keep in mind that they should possess these character traits: they should have awareness, be knowledgable, show kindness and operate with joy. At Naked Truth Yoga, we are proud of our teacher trainers that demonstrate these qualities day in and day out. Contact us if you’d like to find out for yourself.