Find your inner voice
Developing your own unique teaching style. By Paula Mayura
We are all individuals, people are different, their shapes and sizes, their ethos and lifestyles — no one yoga teacher can be right for everyone.
Many in the west come to yoga through the third of the eight limbs of yoga, Asanas, the physical postures. But more and more, yoga is being recognised as a real alternative for relief of stress and anxiety and with many now choosing this more self-empowering way of managing their lives. Yoga is not only a physical practice, it has the potential to facilitate transformation. This can put a responsibility on yoga teachers and makes it even more important to be well educated in any direction you plan to teach.
As a teacher trainer, I have had the opportunity to witness many diverse characters take this deep personal journey. I can honestly say no two teachers teach alike. This is a never ending source of wonder to me as I watch each person mature to become a fully fledged teacher.
I always maintain that even if some don’t go on to teach yoga in the classical sense (as in, students on mats in classes), they are inevitably teaching yoga anyway. How could they not? One can never un-learn something. Yoga becomes infused in your very cells and everyone that comes into contact with you will get a bit! Whether that’s your children, your partner, work colleagues or strangers. It is impossible to not be what you are, to deny that developed awareness.
So, to the question of ‘How to develop your own teaching style?’ In my experience, students enter into a YTT with their own preferences as to what sort of yoga they like doing and maybe what they would like to teach. I have also observed that along the 18-month journey they may change tack dramatically; not all, some have a clear vision that remains, but some arrive in love with a particular yoga style only to discover a new love.
It’s often about the individual finding balance within themselves. The most important thing is to enter your course with an open mind and a willingness to embrace change, to leave your ego outside the door and enjoy the journey. It may take you to places you couldn’t have imagined.
I believe our own teaching style evolves organically if we stay true to ourselves. We are always best at teaching what we love.
Think of teachers you have loved, that have inspired you; what do they have in common? It may have been the most amazing body in the world that perhaps initially caught your attention, or their reputation? But what keeps you going? I’m pretty sure it’s something along the lines of their authenticity, their pure passion for what they do and their knowledge.
We don’t develop these magnetic skills by copying someone else. We only develop in these ways by being truly authentic, by tuning in to our own Satya (truth).
What truly lights your fire? Whatever it is, if followed, will ignite your passion as you absorb knowledge and grow in confidence until what was once just a vision of sharing your delight in yoga flows naturally from your own inner voice.
So, stay open, stay true to yourself, learn to feel what is right for you, mind, body and soul. When you come from this place it holds a natural and beautiful power. Teach what you love, don’t be afraid to be who you are — you can never be the right teacher for everyone but at least with this attitude you can be the right teacher for those students that bless you with their trust and presence.
Paula Mayura is the founder of Mayura Yoga Academy (mayurayoga.co.uk)
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.