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Our job as yoga teachers is to facilitate the same positive—and for some of us, life-changing—experience that we have received from the yoga practice. I believe the best teachers are those who are on a mission to genuinely serve others and share the practice of yoga.
I’ve found the level of humility and compassion that a teacher has tends to directly correlate to their mission to serve—and the same applies in reverse. An empowering teacher is inclusive, and there to connect with all of their students equally.
When you find a teacher who empowers you, it means you have someone who is genuinely looking out for your best interest. When your personal growth is their priority and they have your highest potential in mind, the sky’s the limit.
Here are 5 signs you have a yoga teacher who empowers you:
Sign No. 1: You are given the knowledge of the practice.
An empowering teacher gives you all the tools needed to take the practice into your own hands, so you have the knowledge and ability to modify your practice according to what suits your body best. Whether it’s teaching you how to find proper alignment in a particular pose or giving you resources that might help you further your study of the sutras, an empowering teacher is one who really teaches you something. He or she will encourage you to study and practice on your own and take all of the tools you’ve learned from them into your own hands.
Sign No. 2: You are encouraged to be discerning—and to become a student of your own body.
A teacher looking to empower you always encourages you to use your own discernment. She’ll give you the proper alignment cues and the space to modify if needed. She’ll give you the direct translation of sutras, along with the space for you to find your own interpretation. An empowering teacher will be flexible in her approach. She’ll ask inquisitive, thought-provoking questions in class that help you bring your awareness into your own body. Her teachings will open the door for you; rather, they’ll give you the space to choose whether to walk through it or not. You feel heard, because your teacher understands you know your body better than anyone else.
Sign No. 3: You are encouraged to try other teachers and practices.
Any experienced teacher knows that every student grows and evolves. After all, a teacher and her teaching style will change, grow, and evolve over time—and that will affect the students she teaches. In the same respect, students and their personal practices will evolve, and they may out grow their current teacher or vibe with a completely different style than they previously loved. And that is 100 percent OK! A teacher who empowers you is one who encourages you to seek out and try different styles of yoga and different teachers. She will be happy to see you improving and flourishing, regardless of what style or teacher you choose is the best suited for your current journey.
Sign No. 4: You feel seen and acknowledged for your potential.
A teacher who empowers you will notice and encourage you to fulfill your highest potential. She’ll believe in you, whether you’re striving for a pose or want to start teaching your own classes, because she sees the spark within you that has the potential to do it. A truly empowering teacher will root for you and believe in you stepping into your highest self. And you’ll be able to feel it’s genuine, because your teacher will share the happiness you experience from your successes on your journey.
Sign No. 5: You feel continually inspired.
When you have an empowering teacher, you’ll feel inspired both by her teachings in the classroom—and by who she is as a person. A truly inspiring teacher doesn’t just teach yoga, she lives the practice. An empowering teacher teaches less with her words and more with her actions, inside and outside of the yoga studio. And her dedication to living her yoga from a place of integrity and embodiment will encourage and inspire you to do the same.
About the Author
Kat Fowler is a leading international teacher, speaker and writer based in New York City. Kat specializes in yoga, meditation, spirituality, and holistic healing. She has been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal, Om Yoga magazine, Natural Awakenings Magazine and featured in interviews on ABC News and the New York Times. For more information, visit: katfowler.com