I’ve spent thousands of hours taking and teaching yoga classes over the years. I’ve had teachers that I connect with on a heart and soul level, and some whose classes I take only because of scheduling convenience. I have practiced with teachers who I believe are some of the best in the world, and with others who seem to actually dislike teaching.
There are many things that set good teachers apart from the truly incredible. Not the least of which are; experience in both practice and teaching, deep understanding of anatomy and alignment, creativity, and the understanding and integration of yogic philosophy within the asana. Having a well educated teacher who isn’t afraid to show up in her (or his) own skin is invaluable.
All that being said, in my experience, what makes the very best yoga teachers is love.
Love for themselves and of course love for the practice, but most importantly, love for every single student that shows up to class. Cultivating and sharing the energy of unconditional love for our students is what makes yoga feel like magic.
We have a unique opportunity as yoga teachers to share love without judgement or expectation. The teachers in my life that have made the most impact are the ones that loved me. Even if they knew nothing of my life, they tuned into me, in the present moment, and loved me through all the bullshit I bring to my mat.
So if you want to be one of the best yoga teachers around, leave your ego at the door, open your heart, and love your students. Love them with the intensity you seek at your loneliest moments, and you may just change their lives.