8 Ways to a Peaceful Class

When you first asked how do you become a yoga instructor, you probably weren’t thinking of becoming a peacemaker, negotiator or disciplinarian. The focus of your answer to How do you become a yoga instructor was more likely on the poses, the marketing and the yoga philosophies that drew you to the teaching path. Fear not, you will learn asanas and philosophies, along with deep breathing and quiet meditation techniques.

Become the arbiter of good and respectful behavior. It’s inevitable. Yoga students come to you from a wide range of backgrounds with varying sets of baggage. But how do you become a yoga instructor in the midst of chaos? The most successful teachers learn through training and practice. Even when it seems as if the negative will destroy your bliss, you will learn how to handle it with grace. Here are eight tips to help you on your journey.

1. Spell Out Your Conditions

When asked, how do you become a yoga instructor when you have to deal with so many differing opinions and states of mind, you answer with a clear set of rules. Write down your class guidelines that include such behaviors as tardiness, cell phone usage and talking during meditation. Leave no room for interpretation when it comes to certain behaviors that will disrupt the class.

Require each student to sign your list of policies upon registration. When a student breaks one of your rules, simply point to the agreement. It will serve as an unbiased arbiter and relieve you from the accusation of singling out any one student. The rules apply equally to all.

2. Control Your Emotions

But how do you become a yoga instructor peacefully when you are feeling angry and resentful? The answer is — you don’t. You must first control your own emotions before you can create a peaceful space in which to teach yoga. It is when you are being challenged that your meditation training and practice will become most vital.

Take a moment to gauge your feelings. Breathe and bring your thoughts to the power that guides your practice. Think about the positive energy you exude and the confidence with which you speak. Look at your anger and understand that its origin most likely lies in fear. Put that fear to rest so that you can take appropriate action as a leader.

3. Become the Listener

So how do you become a yoga instructor with compassion while you’re dealing with disruptions? By taking the time to listen. Very often, your students act out from a place of fear or internal pain. Your willingness to listen to a student’s problems may be all that it takes to diffuse a situation and prevent it from escalating.

A compassionate yoga teacher doesn’t immediately discount any student before hearing her out. Kindness and patience often reward you with respect in return. You’ve learned in your training how to read students — apply it when they are less than forthcoming as well.

4. Believe in Yourself

Disruptive students may challenge your authority and ask you point blank: “How do you become a yoga instructor when you know so little about the practice?” It’s times like these that demand your complete confidence in your training and experience.

Draw on your own truth and the fact that you mastered the training. Bring a wealth of experience to the class. Do not focus on the challenge; instead turn your attention to those students who appreciate your style and methods of teaching, who respect the training you bring and who want to follow your lead.

5. Bring a Sense of Humor

Bring a healthy sense of humor to class along with your mat. While meditation and yoga practice is serious, it’s best served lightly and with the understanding that sometimes laughter is the best prescription for a difficult situation.

After all, it was Einstein who told us: “Before God we are all equally wise — and equally foolish.” A healthy sense of humor can neutralize a negative outburst or disruptive events. Be prepared to laugh at yourself and your sense of self-importance when students challenge your authority. Create a sacred space filled with joy when you react with light humor and decide to laugh instead of cry.

6. Maintain Order

Above all else, students expect you to maintain peace in the studio. You have a sacred duty to stop disruptive behavior immediately and return the class to its sense of emotional and physical safety. How do you become a yoga instructor who promises peace when you can’t maintain order?

You quickly address the problem. Whether you revert to humor or turn to your rules of conduct, you do it immediately. You must stop poor behavior right away if you are to earn the respect of your students and ensure their comfort with your leadership. Just as quickly as the class was interrupted, you can resume your instruction with blissful order.

7. Turn It Over

When studying human nature, you learned that you can’t be all things to all people. There will meet those students with whom you can’t build a connection — those students who, no matter how hard you try, will not be a good fit for your style of teaching.

When you asked how do you become a yoga instructor, you may not have expected to learn how not to become someone’s yoga teacher, but that day may very well come. There are those students who do better practicing yoga alone or who will thrive under another’s tutelage. You’ve sometimes got to let them go. While you may not want to give up on anyone, the fact is that you may have to — for the greater good.

8. So How Do You Become a Yoga Instructor?

By preparing yourself. BY grounding yourself. By relying on your training and the confidence you earned when practicing your art. By creating peace in your classes through self-awareness, humor, compassion and urgency.

A serene environment does not always occur naturally just because you are teaching one of the most peaceful practices on earth. Negative events will occur. Be prepared, practice patience and know that you are ready for any challenge because you are following your bliss.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

5 Tips to Prepare for the Training of Your Life

Once you’ve developed a strong desire to move from the role of student to become the teacher, you may wonder: How do you become a yoga instructor with the tools you have now? You may feel that you are ready, but there are several steps to take before you immerse yourself in the process.

You’ll be competing with a slew of potential teachers as the yoga movement continues to grow, so step back a moment and follow these five tips before beginning your journey. Through the process, your own yoga practice will deepen, as will your understanding of yourself and how it all fits together.

1. Approach Experienced Teachers

Seek guidance from those who have gone before you. Ask the question: “How do you become a yoga instructor?” Your own teacher, other instructors at your studio and elders with blog posts and advice columns can provide you with a wealth of information. After all, they’ve been where you are and can share their experience about certified programs like the courses you’ll find at the Asheville Yoga Center. Your personal teacher can give you feedback about your own readiness and provide insight on how do you become a yoga instructor with the level of skills you currently possess.

2. Boost Your Own Practice

Yoga teacher certification programs expect students to already have a strong daily yoga practice in place. When asked how do you become a yoga instructor, many teachers answer rhetorically, “How did you become a yoga student?” You purposely chose the practice and have worked hard to become stronger and more focused with your daily program. You must bring the same resolve you had when first you were introduced to the physical, emotional and spiritual demands of yoga. Prepare to go even further once you start the work to become a teacher.

3. Prepare by Reading

Just as you prepare physically by hitting the mat more often and more intensely, so you can prepare your mind by immersing yourself in the yoga classics, many of which you’ll be required to read during your training in a certified program. By absorbing many of the texts before you even start, you’ll come to class with a fresh perspective, well-thought-out questions and intelligent additions to the daily discussions.

4. Take the Plunge

To become a successful yoga instructor, you must make a commitment to stick with your training over the long haul. Yoga teacher training isn’t something that can be accomplished over a weekend workshop, but requires a deep level of commitment and a considerable chunk of time and money. Once you make the commitment, set a pace that you’re comfortable with because training should never cease. The teachers who keep learning are those that attract a devoted following of students who share the same commitment.

5. Check Out the Program

Now that you’ve steeled yourself for the journey, upped your daily practice and taken the leap to commit to growth, you are ready to start researching the various schools that train yoga teachers. How do you become a yoga teacher now? It becomes a practical question that demands clear and honest answers. Your gut will guide you through the research as you learn about the facilities, the teachers and their backgrounds, the costs involved and the focus of the courses. Look for the kind of challenge that resonates with your needs and enjoy the journey.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide