There is a great conversation going on over at The Yoga Lunchbox on the subject of how to become a yoga teacher.
I've contributed my thoughts over there and decided to reproduce them here because I'd love to hear your responses and thoughts as well.
So how do we become yoga teachers? Speaking for myself, this is how I became a yoga teacher.
First I become myself. Yoga helps me bring my head and heart, body and mind, breath and spirit all into alignment. As I have become more my own authentic, healthy self, I have become of more service to everyone around me. For me, teaching yoga is part of that service.
So first there was my own process of unfolding and reuniting with myself through yoga. Then there was a deepening of my desire to serve, which seems to have arisen naturally from that process. In that deepening was a desire to share this process, yoga, which have given me so much.
Then came the work of equipping myself with the skills to teach. Teaching yoga is not the same as practicing yoga, nor is it quite the same as 'instructing' yoga.
There is a process of deepening into the role of teaching yoga just as there is a process of deepening into our yoga sadhana. Teaching is predominantly about a relationship between the teacher and the student. The quality of that relationship plays a large part in determining the quality of the teaching.
It's a symbiotic relationship, the learning and the rewards flow in both direction. But there is a specific responsibility upon the teacher, so ensuring that I have the skills and knowledge (as well as the personal practice and commitment to our own constant unfolding) to teach wisely and safely is a fundamental requirement for me.
There are many ways to develop those skills and that knowledge. Some of us will have teaching, coaching, mentoring and communication skills from other areas of our lives that will serve us well as teachers of yoga. Some of us will learn to teach yoga predominently from our own yoga teacher, in the process of being taught. Others will attend specialized yoga teacher training courses. All these are valuable paths. None of them can guarantee us that we are ready to teach.
How do we know if we are ready to teach?
For that we have to be honest with ourselves and listen to the best teacher we all have, the wise and profoundly truthful voice within us that already knows the answer to all our questions."