Non-Stop Svadhyaya: The Constant Self-Study of Great Ashtanga Yoga Teachers
When pursuing a career as a yoga teacher, sharing the practice with others, you constantly would want to stay connected to the right sources. Here are some valuable guidance on how you keep your self connected to the best sources in a Non-Stop Svadhyaya.
So, you’re thinking about teaching Ashtanga. Perhaps you’ve been practicing this beautiful method for some time, and it has touched your life in a way you want to offer others. Perhaps those around you have seen the gradual effects of this transformative practice, and have started asking you to share. Whatever the impetus, the desire to share the Ashtanga practice is an honorable one. The actual practice of teaching, however, is no small responsibility. It’s a lifelong journey that requires constant study, devotion, and humility. Starting to teach can be a daunting proposition, but there are some simple ways you can set yourself up for success as a conduit of this beautiful tradition.
It’s commonly said that those who can do, and those who can’t do teach. This aphorism doesn’t apply to yoga, however. As you begin to share with others, be sure to stay grounded in your personal practice –it’s the best way to learn how to teach it. Remember that the reason you want to share this practice is that you love it. In all likelihood, it’s changed your life for the better, and continues to make moving through the world an easier and fuller experience each day. Let that motivate you to get on the mat, practicing Ashtanga at home six days a week if possible. You can’t teach this practice without living it. Lucky for you that you enjoy it!
Seek Out Training Programs On a Regular Basis
While a personal Ashtanga practice will be your greatest resource for teaching, a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training is a great way to find guidance in the parallel practice of teaching. While growing as a teacher and practitioner is a lifelong journey, a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga instructor training can give you a good grounding in important topics such as adjustment, anatomy and philosophy. You’ll benefit from the hard-earned wisdom of an experienced teacher, and develop a solid support system of fellow trainees to call on as you begin teaching. As a bonus, you’ll receive an Ashtanga yoga teacher certification, which can be necessary for employment, and can be a helpful validation of your credentials, especially when you’re just starting out.
You’re not finished once you’ve got your certification, however. Great teachers never stop studying. Be voracious in your reading habits, tenacious in your search for more knowledge. Seek out training – whether in a classroom, workshops, or even another teacher training. Just because you have a RYT-200 doesn’t mean you can’t go back to school. An immersive Ashtanga yoga teacher training or workshop, such as the intensive ones offered in rejuvenating locales like Nicaragua, Greece, or Costa Rica, can be a great way to refocus your practice and reground your teaching. Constantly learning will invigorate and inspire your teaching, giving you an ever-growing teaching toolbox to work from. And, of course, don’t forget – practice, practice, practice.
Stay Forever A Student
Once you begin, stay humble. Let your students be your teachers. The less willing you are to take on the role of “teacher,” the better a teacher you’ll be. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share your knowledge – it just means that you should never let yourself think you know everything, or maybe even anything. Stay on an equal footing with your students, even as you teach them, and you’ll be able to reach them in ways you would never be able to if you let yourself be put on a pedestal. Studenthood, whether it be in your own classroom, in your home, or at an Ashtanga yoga teacher training, is central to teaching. Teaching like a professional is simple – all you have to do is stay forever a student.