The Importance of Being a Yoga Teacher
By: Nina Hunt, 200 RYT, CPT, Author of a Simple Guide for Yoga Teachers
Do you remember the moment you decided you wanted to be a yoga teacher? Was it after your first yoga class, where you had a realization that this was your life path? Or was it after years in the studio, making a decision after progressing in your practice? Or maybe it was working with several amazing teachers, who inspired you to make a difference in other people’s lives?
Whatever the moment was, you decided. You made the decision to be a lightworker, a guide for others, physically and mentally, to connect with themselves on a 24×68 inch mat for 60-90 minutes every day. It was in this decision that you decided to help others, and in a way, yourself.
You see, teaching yoga isn’t just about guiding people in and out of poses. It’s about communicating with others through a voice only you can speak, and connecting with each person by the energy you bring to the class. Of course, a 200 or 500 hour yoga certification can teach you a thing or two -Sanskrit names for each pose, how to piece together classes, the chakras, and even a few muscle groups in the body. It’s completely necessary in order to safely teach a class, and even more necessary to understand the mind-body connection.
But what does this ultimately mean for students, when a teacher has a certification?
Does that really make them the best at what they do?
Think about your favorite teachers. What traits do you admire or look up to in them? Is it just their knowledge, or is it who they are?
When you begin to look at the qualities of an amazing teacher, you start to realize that they bring a huge part of themselves into the class. Their life journey, personal experiences, some humor, stories that touched their heart, and maybe even some insight from mistakes they’ve made down the road. Teaching yoga isn’t just about what you know – it’s about emotion, authenticity, and being vulnerable. It’s bringing a personal flair that no one else can replicate – because no one else is you.
If you are starting out on this journey as a new yoga teacher, feeling a little lost, a little overwhelmed, or just downright scared – it’s ok. Being a yoga teacher means touching people’s lives in ways you never thought you would, just by sharing yourself.
So be scared – and share it with your class. Be lost – and let others know. It’s these moments of vulnerability that allow others to connect with teachers, because many of them are feeling the same thing too. They come to class to connect, to share, to feel like they aren’t alone. They want to be around another human who can openly share their journey, which ultimately gives the student permission to accept their own. A teachers healing can contribute to the healing of the student, if communicated in just the right way.
Do you remember the moment you decided you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
Remember it. Write it down, and make that your mission statement. Say it at the beginning of your class to remind you of your purpose, and mirror your intent in every class through your own uniqueness. You are on a journey to help others, and all it takes is you being you.
Nina Elise is a certified yoga teacher & personal trainer. Following reconstructive knee surgery in 2014, she began taking yoga classes to aid in her recovery. She quickly found yoga as a way to not only rebuild her strength, but also alleviate stress and anxiety. She is now able to share her love of body awareness and mindfulness through teaching yoga & working one-on-one with others. She has studied and learned from the best teachers in the world, combining several yoga lineages in her teaching style for a unique, anatomy-based, and meditative practice.
Nina currently resides in Seattle and recently released a 3-month workout guide & her new book on amazon, A Simple Guide for New Yoga Teachers. Click here to find more details on her book.
You can catch more up-to-date information, free workouts, and yoga videos on her website & social media pages: