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Whether to Slow Down an Impatient Student

I have a student in one of my classes who has been steadily studying yoga with me for almost a year. Her practice has really taken off in the last six months, and she is now pursuing becoming a teacher herself. I am thrilled for her to deepen her practice, but I feel that she is pushing too hard, too soon to accomplish everything she wants. She plans to open her own studio in the very near future but has yet to teach a class herself!


I have encouraged her to slow down, enjoy the process, be a student as much as possible, explore all forms of yoga, take classes from many teachers, and read every yoga book she can. She has done some of this but continues to press on at breakneck speed and wants what she wants right now.

This all hits close to home for me because I had a bad experience with a mentor teacher when I began the transition from student to teacher. Immediately after I began teaching, this mentor became distant and critical of every choice I made, as well as of my qualifications to lead a class. The relationship ultimately ended, and I was left confused, devastated, and sad. I want to be an encouraging, positive influence in my own student's transition. I am trying to be aware of my own emotions and want to make sure my intentions are good and healthy.

Read Nicki Doane's response:

Dear Tracie,

This sounds like it has hit close to home—as though you went through the same thing that you are now about to put a student of your own through.

I would urge you to back off. Time will reveal all things, and if she is not meant to teach right now and have a studio, that will become apparent and she will find out by herself. This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice vairagya, or dispassion. As a teacher, we should want our students to succeed and to grow beyond us. Try to find some compassion for her and remember that yoga reveals.

Yoga in America is quite different today than it traditionally was in India. Today you can actually get certified to be a yoga teacher in as little as three days! I say let the chips fall where they may.

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