see Rebecca Harris’ companion article 5 tips for new yoga teachers (from a new yoga teacher)
1) Teach what you know
Don’t feel pressure to teach fancy or complicated stuff that’s outside of your comfort zone. Access your deep source of knowing and share from there. The most heart-felt and profound teachings are ones that are authentic and come from an experiential knowledge.
2) Submit to a daily practice.
The only way to gain an authentic and deep experiential base of knowledge is to practice. Meditate daily. Breathe deep. Pause before speaking. Care for your body with stretches & healthy eating. Study the scriptures and ancient texts of yoga philosophy. Make your yoga personal practice a part of your daily life.
3) Recognize each soul you meet on your path as Whole.
It isn’t a yoga teacher’s job to fix a student, make them whole, or shed upon them enlightenment. Yoga is rooted in the understanding that the natural state of our soul is wholeness; unity with the Cosmos; and effortless ease of being; bliss. When we approach each soul we encounter as whole, we spare people the experience of judgment, lacking, and feeling less-than. When we chose to acknowledge wholeness, we get the opportunity to share in the sheer joy of existence with every living soul we encounter.
4) Know that we are drawn to the Light.
Please know that yoga teaching is not about your personality, your agility with words or your complicated asana sequences. We are, each one of us, drawn to the Light. When your classes gain in popularity, when you earn a raise or pack a full house during a workshop event– please know that people have not come to worship at the cult of your personality– each soul in your care is drawn to the Light. Embody the Light and be a ray that removes darkness on the path. This is how we each can be said to embody the Guru.
5) Practice Love.
Love yourself. Love a stranger. Love your children, neighbors and family. Love a rude person, an awkward person, an unexpected person. Love the earth. Love your life. Love your body. Love your breath. Love your voice, your face, your laugh. Love unflinchingly. Love bravely. Love peacefully. Love enduringly. Love tenderly. Love righteously. Because after all, only Love is Real.
Voted one of Austin’s best Yoga teachers in 2013, Zoe Mantarakis is a gem in Austin’s yoga community. Her decade-plus teaching experience lends her an ease and accessibility that make her classes welcoming to all levels. Zoe leads international yoga retreats, is an esteemed presenter at national conferences, and is the co-creator of Yoga Illumined 200hr Teacher Training Program. Her teachings skillfully blend the precise art of yoga alignment with philosophy and relaxation techniques that guide all level of student toward self-knowledge, peace and a blissful abidance in the present moment.
You can find Zoe at www.welovezoeyoga.com!