I never really seriously thought about what it takes to become a yoga teacher. The very few times it crossed my mind before, I thought it was just mastering different sequences and learning how to clearly give instructions to students. Boy was that assumption so inadequate!
Now that I’m doing the 200-hour teacher training course and learning from very experienced teachers and masters, I have a way much better appreciation of yoga teachers. Here are just a few amazing things you may not know about your yoga teacher (and the things you would also need to learn if you want to become one):
#1 They have mastered the anatomy of the body – the skeletal system, muscular system, digestive system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and nervous system – and how different asanas, pranayamas and kriyas can help support each of them so that they can help you attain better wellbeing.
#2 They know each type of body motion involved in each asana you do. Whether it’s adduction, abduction, flexion, extension, rotation, elevation, depression, pronation, supination, inversion. SE-RI-OUS-LY. They know which muscles work in each asana, and whether they contract or stretch, and they make sure that each pose you make is followed by the appropriate counterpose. They do all these to make sure your muscles are strengthened and that you will not have any injuries.
#3 They are the ultimate multi-tasking machines. OMG! In each class, they give you the clearest instructions, demo the pose, scan the entire room to see who needs help, rush gracefully to students who need assistance and adjust them with a good combination of firmness and gentleness, all these while breathing with you and counting breaths for you.
#4 They have a great tolerance for the smell and feel of your sweat ;)
These are just a few cool things they do but more than enough reason for you to give your teacher a nice, big hug (or maybe a pat on the back if a hug would seem too weird) and a heartfelt thanks the next time you go for a class.
© Karen Cornejo, written during my Ashtanga teacher training at Tirisula Singapore, June 2014