Why teaching yoga is the best job in the world

Before I started teaching yoga, I didn’t believe there was such as thing as a “calling” or a purpose in life. I thought that those who professed otherwise were just deluding themselves. At best, maybe it existed for others, but it didn’t seem to exist for me. All that changed the first time I stood in front of a roomful of people and used my voice to guide them through a simple sequence of yoga postures.

It was 2009 and I was in my first week of yoga teacher training. We were just beginning to learn about anatomy, alignment, yoga philosophy, and how to instruct a class, and my classmates and I were taking turns leading each other through a few basic poses. When it was my turn to stand at the front of the room, I was excited and a little terrified. Would I freeze up and completely forget what I had wanted to say? Would I get tongue-tied or out of breath? I was no stranger to public speaking but this was a whole new realm for me. And then just a few moments later, it was over and I went back to my own mat as the next teacher-in-training stepped up.

I don’t remember which poses I taught or what words I used, but I will never forget the way I felt afterwards. It was as though a switch had been flipped inside me. I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh, so THIS is what people mean when they say they’ve found their calling!” Never before had I felt such joy, effortless flow and present-moment awareness as I had when I stepped into the role of a teacher. And five years later, I still feel the same.

It’s difficult to put into words exactly why teaching yoga resonates so deeply with me but I’ll do my best. Here are just a few of the many reasons:

  • It allows me to share what I’m truly passionate about: the teachings of yoga that have been passed down to me by my teachers, the empowerment of taking an active role in one’s own wellness, and the beauty of a practice that always meets you where you are.
  • The light and energy I see reflected back in the faces of my students.
  • The privilege and honour of witnessing the transformation – not just physical, but emotional and even spiritual – that occurs each time someone steps onto their mat.
  • The joy of guiding others inward to (re)discover their own innate truth, ability, beauty and authenticity.
  • It inspires me to practice, read, discuss, write and think. The more I learn about the art and science of yoga, the more it becomes apparent that there’s so much more I need to learn. Teaching leads me back to my own mat, again and again.
  • (Honourable mention: Teaching yoga gives me a reason to use Sanskrit words in public.)

For all of these reasons and many more, I always make a point of thanking my students after each class. Without their presence, I wouldn’t be able to experience having the best job in the world.