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Yoga Teachers Lead by Example - Part 1
Paul M. Jerard Jr.

During the course of a lifetime, most of us have heard the saying," Do as I say, not as I do." We see this kind of leadership everywhere we go. All politicians, religious leaders, police, sports professionals, parents, academic teachers, and Yoga teachers, lead by example, even if the example displayed is not a good one.

So, how does this concern you? You may not be a public figure, but your students, and the general public, know who you are. Some may even know more about you than you would like. As a Yoga teacher, you want to keep your health, behavior, and your ethics at a high standard - if you are going to be in the "public eye."

As far as health is concerned, you should maintain your Yoga practice and meditate daily. This is an irony with many Yoga teachers because your time is also consumed with the business of Yoga, maintenance of the studio, advertising, and many more aspects that keep a business going.

My personal estimate of time that I spent on vacuuming, cleaning, and maintenance of the Yoga studio is thousands of hours before I hired someone else to do it. This does not account for any of the time spent on many other duties that go into running a Yoga studio.

The average Yoga student has no idea of the preparation and support services involved before they come to a typical Yoga class. In reality, you want them to feel relaxed, so you don't want your Yoga students to feel stressed out over the bookkeeping, marketing, and maintenance of your Yoga studio.

Therefore, you have to put your best "game face" on during class time. This is one very powerful reason for taking the time to develop your own personal Yoga practice. You still must expand your depth of understanding Yoga's many facets.

Why do, or did, you want to be a Yoga teacher in the first place? The most common reasons for becoming a Yoga teacher are your passion for Yoga and to share the gift that has changed your life. Your health and your personal Yoga practice are an integral part of the Yoga teaching vocation.

Maybe you don't have a staff and you are busy all the time preparing for the next Yoga class. What can you do? Budget your time and make a personal Yoga, or meditation session, for yourself. Spending thousands of hours on bookkeeping, marketing, cleaning, and maintenance is part of many Yoga studio owners' lives, but you must also make the time to become a better Yoga practitioner.

You can also offer reduced rates to volunteers or "work for trade" programs to those Yoga students who help you with "domestic chores." You should consult your accountant to make sure everything is legal and "above board." You don't want to violate any child labor laws or set yourself up for any legal problems, so make sure you are following the law "to the letter." Remember also, that laws vary depending upon your location.

It's too easy to let the business of Yoga become your new reality. The business of teaching Yoga is more time consuming than any of us can imagine as Yoga students. If you are spending so much time working on your Yoga business, that you have little time to practice, you must re-evaluate your reason for teaching Yoga.

Make time every day to expand your knowledge about Yoga's many aspects. If you don't take the time to be a Yoga student and engage in learning, continuing education, and nurturing your passion for Yoga, you risk burn out. The best Yoga teachers are students for life, who love to practice this wonderful discipline we know as Yoga.

When your Yoga studio, Yoga teaching position, or ashram becomes a daily burden, and you cannot expand your knowledge; the end result is no different than any other job. As a Yoga teacher, you owe it to your students to keep your "internal flames of passion" for Yoga going.

Copyright 2005 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the author:

Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher.

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