How To Become A Teacher Who Facilitates Lasting Change
By: Lindsay Miller
Lona, a big-hearted grandma from Puerto Rico, was small in stature but had huge amounts of energy. Each week, I would take her amazing yoga classes where she would guide us through sequences and offer stories about how the poses related to life. Lona connected with yoga to heal an injury from when she was a young mother and has been completely devoted to her practice ever since. She became a teacher to share the benefits of yoga. She always taught from a place of unconditional love and acceptance, offering support to anyone who walked into her class.
When I first started taking classes from Lona, I too, was looking for healing. I was a young mother suffering with an autoimmune disorder and had constant painful inflammation in my body. Encouraged by Lona’s willingness to help me modify the poses that were too painful, I came to trust Lona’s belief in the power of yoga. Over time, I started to see my mobility return. I could move my neck! My back stopped going out constantly. And little by little I could feel more healing and strength in my body.
The best teachers are the ones who see us in terms of our potential while accepting our vulnerabilities. The teachers who bring something alive in us that we forgot.
What makes those teachers special? After working with hundreds of students and instructors, I believe there are three simple things that are key to becoming a teacher who can help change lives.
Be kind to yourself. Popular author and researcher, Brene Brown, teaches that most of the time we see the world not as it is… but as we are. Our reality is a reflection of how we feel. If you want to see the best in your students, start by seeing the best in yourself. Practicing self-compassion and empathy can help you make this happen.
Practice Mindfulness. Great teachers have the ability to see us and hold space for us as we are in the present moment. Oftentimes, we feel like we’re the only one with them. This type of focused attention in the midst of constant distraction is rare nowadays. Cultivate it and you’ll have more students than you know what to do with.
Celebrate Small Victories. Most students just show up for class occasionally. Some days it’s hard to know your right from your left, let alone balance in a yoga pose. Whether you are a teacher or want to get better in your own practice, gradual improvements are the key to mastery. It’s easy to forget that small incremental changes are the most lasting. Instead of looking for profound experiences or the perfect pose, see the daily improvements. Even just showing up on the yoga mat is a big deal.
Lona was my first yoga teacher and her lessons are still a part of my practice and my life. I often reach out to her with gratitude for her influence and support. After years of practicing and healing, I decided I was ready to teach yoga. Her enthusiasm and support guided me to just the right program at Inbody Academy. Her teaching legacy lives on in my connection with my own students today. It’s your own experiences and connections to mentors that will allow you to become a great teacher. You will see yourself in your students and be able to meet them wherever they are.
Our Yoga and Mindfulness Programs are designed to give our students the most important skills to have a lasting impact on those they teach. If you’re ready to experience just how incredible it is to guide students to stronger, more compassionate versions of themselves, please apply now. Space is limited.