Teach Yoga from the heart

Teach from the heart

If you want to teach straight from the heart, it’s time to rip up the class plan, says Jo De Rosa

There are many differing teaching styles across the globe but ask yourself this: are you teaching yoga from your head, or are you teaching from your heart? See which category you fall into below, and how you could potentially be sharing the journey with your students in an even deeper way, as you become more experienced in the union that is yoga.
Teaching from the head: Here we formulate the class plan weeks in advance creating order, definition, and unspoken boundaries. There is an energy of control and it doesn’t matter who is in the class; it’s not so much about the individuals than what you want to deliver. This is teaching from the personality, ego, and what you feel you ‘should ’ include in the class.
Teaching from the heart: The heart has no limits and cannot be restrained like the mind. Here, teaching flows depend on what is going on in that very moment, so the plan must be thrown out of the window.

How to teach from the heart
The teacher begins the session with meditation and tunes in to those present. What does each individual require, and what is the energy in the room; this cannot be predicted ahead of time and is why this way of teaching is so powerful. Words form from seemingly nowhere, like a higher power has taken over and is teaching the class on your behalf. There is a great wisdom within you when you drop down and begin to trust these words and whispers, and couple this with the willingness to be a channel for the divine; your teaching will transcend anything that you’ve ever known before.

Service to self
We begin to move out of teaching from ego and what we ‘think ’looks good or will be received well .No longer do we require approval to feel valued, for we have learnt how to do this for ourselves, we are self-sourced.

We’ve all been in the situation early in our teaching career where in a busy class there is the one person who doesn’t seem to be ‘getting ’ what we’re sharing. We then aim the class at this one person, desperately trying to gain the student’s blessing. This at the expense of all the other people in the room who up until the moment you refocused your attention from all to one, had had your undivided attention. Can you let go of the need to control how your students receive your teaching?

Service to others
Now we step into fully putting the ‘other ’first. Our own needs are met from our personal practice, so that we can step out of the way entirely to give ourselves to others without losing an ounce of energy in the process. The personality is no longer teaching, words and directions come from a pure spiritual place; ‘you ’need nothing from the class other than to walk away from it knowing that a greater intelligence directed the 60 or so minutes. Whatever the students took from the session is their responsibility, and you take none of the residue of that into your day or evening post-class.

Of course, what I am talking about here is advanced level; you cannot walk out of your first yoga teacher training course and have this kind of deep trust and belief in yourself and your teaching. It takes years of deep inner work to reach the deepest depths of your soul; to understand the voice of your inner wisdom and be confident in listening to, and acting upon, these utterings of insight.

So, for the advanced teacher who knows what they teach inside out, can you throw away your class plan and deliver your soul’s words to each class in front of you?

Jo De Rosa is a yoga teacher and runs Inner Guidance Retreat Centre in Lavenham, Suffolk which can be hired to hold your next retreat.

Om Magazine

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.