Popular Teachers' Corner

Why Being a Student Makes you a Better Teacher

I went to a yoga class today!!! I am so proud, I feel amazing, I am so energized, so fulfilled and so happy!

No shit, Sherlock! Yoga makes you feel good?

Well, the thing is that I am a yoga teacher. And when teaching yoga is what you love doing the most in the whole world, it is easy to say yes to all the teaching opportunities you get.

And as expected, if you are teaching a class, you aren´t able to take a class at the same time.

And maybe you are just tired after teaching your class and you do not feel like doing another one.

And somehow you repeatedly miss your favorite classes. And your yoga mat seems to always be rolled up and ready to go to the next teaching opportunity. Instead of being rolled out on your floor, ready for a spontaneous yoga practice.

You see, I taught too much yoga.

Maybe not in terms of classes per week, but in terms of classes compared to my own practice.

I taught more than I practiced myself.

And that is only bound to lead me in the wrong direction.

You see, when I am teaching I might just demonstrate a pose on one side and then walk around and adjust on the second side. And even though I might be doing a pose, all my focus is on my students, not how the pose feels in my body.

And if I do this repeatedly, instead of actually practicing myself, everything will end up uneven. All that my body might have gotten that day was half a sun-salutations, pigeon on one side and half-moon pose on the other side.

Will that leave me balanced? Hell no!

I didn´t realize this until it was a bit too late. My lower back was starting to hurt and basically my whole body was screaming at me to stop teaching and starting to practice. Well, at least to do both in moderation.

To give myself the same time and focus I give my students.

To put myself first before I share all my energy with others.

So yes, I finally went to a yoga class. The first one for months.

And I achieved being a student there, instead of a teacher.

I got myself completely immersed and I had the best Savasana ever!

Because you know, as a teacher you actually need to be ready to wake your students up from Savasana, instead of joining them in the relaxation.

For once, I put myself first. And it was the most wonderful 90 minutes.

And I know that this is something I will need to do more often.

So, I challenge you, fellow yoga teachers! To remember to always be the student of yoga, first and foremost. To remember to go to yoga classes with the beginner´s mindset. To always stay true to your home practice.

Because that will make you a much better teacher.

Yoga teachers, how do you prioritize your practice as a student? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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  1. Amanda Sides

    Amanda Sides

    December 8, 2017 at 10:49 am

    As a teacher, it’s essential to be a student. Yoga is experiential, and the only way to figure out what to teach is by doing it yourself! Yoga is so rich: we’ll never be done learning it. 🙂 Thanks for writing this!

  2. 28/365: I´m home! – Ice cream loving yogi

    December 10, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    […] Why being a student makes you a better teacher […]

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    Abby Frantz

    December 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I teach yoga and found a special way to be a student as well. I teach in a fitness center and our yoga classes are highly attended (20-30+). Occasionally I feel the need to be the student so I sub out my own class and attend as a student. The other scheduled classes are at times that don’t quite fit my schedule. I have the opportunity to experience yoga from that perspective, as well as interacting with my students in a different way and observing the class from a different angle. Altogether wonderful!

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