For Newer Teachers: Teaching Authentically

We are intimately familiar with the nerve-racking challenges of being a beginner and we honor those in that state! We hope that by offering the following, you can use awareness, discernment and faith in your challenging and rewarding journey.

  • Newer teachers (as with beginners of anything) are in a unique phase of their journey. A beginner’s techniques typically undergo an appropriate phase of imitation of more experienced and skilled mentors. Inexperienced teachers might imitate aspects they have learned from their own favorite teachers, including how they verbalize and demonstrate. This is a natural way of learning to teach.
  • We invite newer teachers to consider the interesting dynamic of teaching what one personally knows while appropriately using teaching techniques that are learned from others.
  • Please also note that some techniques can be considered “common knowledge” as opposed to imitation.
  • We invite your conscious consideration of the subtle differentiation of what arises from within based on your unique experience, what is common knowledge, and what is being consciously imitated.
  • An unrivaled way to improve your skills efficiently is to engage a mentor and/or specifically request feedback from others you respect and trust.

From the Experts

Speak From Experience

How you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. Teaching in a genuine way is the key to being a great teacher. If it’s clear that you are speaking from experience, you’ll win your students’ confidence and trust. – Melanie Cooper

Don’t Teach It Until You Know It

There’s talk in yoga classes about spirit but most of it is not genuine. It’s just somebody reading something. That’s a start but it easily turns into a sort of New Age blather. But when the teacher can get confident enough to teach from [his or her] own truths, then whatever they have to say is so much more profound. If you’re feeling like you are uneducated regarding your own spirit, go on a quest. Go on a quest for coming into a relationship with your own spirit and don’t teach it until you know it… Go work with people that can help you… It’s work. But do the work because, oh, my god, your life will be so much richer! Do the work for yourself and then you will begin to speak honestly and authentically in a way that can help your students quest also. – Ana Forrest

Imitation To Begin

In teacher training, my trainer colleagues and I use the phrase “Imitate, integrate, innovate” to describe the process by which a new yoga teacher uncovers his or her unique and authentic voice. – Caitlin Casella

Teach Like You’re Teaching Your Friends

Here’s a tip that has been a HUGE help for me and one that I often share with the new teachers that I mentor and train: Teach as though you were teaching a group of your closest friends or family members. You don’t have to perform. You don’t have to play a role. You don’t have to sound ethereal. Just speak in your regular voice and tell them how to do the pose. – Kat Heagberg