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yoga blog

the benefits of practicing with new yoga teachers

the benefits of practicing with new yoga teachers

Detachment starts when we let go of our fears during the process of learning. It’s something we are constantly teaching and practicing in yoga: letting go of our fears. Letting our mind surrender to our breath and connecting with our body instead of thinking what is happening in our lives or what we will be doing next.

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Every year, most probably, you have practiced yoga with a new yoga instructor at your local studio. There are two ways we can approach our decision when practicing with a new instructor, you want to look for something different or you have no choice and you will give it chance. When I started practicing yoga on a regular basis with the “hot series asanas” (Bikram Yoga) I had no idea if the teacher was new or not, I did not check the internet to see who was teaching. I just wanted to practice yoga. I remember focusing more on my practice then, than I do today when I practice at a studio where I teach yoga and know every teacher in the studio.

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After 3 years of practicing yoga I decided to become a yoga instructor, which completely changed my practice. Becoming a yoga instructor made me see all the “behind the scenes” of the yoga teaching world. I started choosing who to practice with. Most of the time I found myself choosing to practice with the teachers that have been teaching for longer or had more “experience”. I don’t blame you if you would agree on practicing only with experienced teachers; we all crave that feeling of being taken care of, and not worrying about if the new teacher makes a mistake.

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Even the most experienced teacher will make big mistakes; it’s a process that will never end. So, why did I choose the most experienced teachers? Was I being picky and wanting to stay in my comfort zone, attaching myself to a teacher? Yes I was!

Once I started to analyze the reason for choosing an experienced teacher instead of a new teacher, I noticed I was avoiding remembering what it was like to be a new teacher. When you start teaching, you are extremely nervous even though the student might not notice. You feel like a goof because you think everybody thinks you suck when you make the tiniest mistake. You get to a tipping point in your life when you realize that it doesn’t really matter what you think the students think in the yoga room (or what the people in your lives) are thinking; because it is only a 1% chance that the other person is thinking what you think.

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When teachers with more experience take my classes it is still nerve-racking because most of the time they will let you know if you made a mistake and will give you feedback that sometimes you don’t want to hear. But you know they are telling you the truth for you own good.

If experienced teachers or older yoga practitioners would have not taken my classes I would not be the teacher I am today. They helped me to improve so much, bringing me to a place in my life where I am strong enough to hear constructive criticism without making it personal. And in my opinion that is what makes the yoga world a constantly motivating community.

Recently I’ve been inspired by taking new teacher’s classes, because it brings me back to that place of humbleness and lets me surrender to being a teacher and a student. Taking new teacher’s classes builds strength and patience because it reminds us that we have been there before, and supporting them is the best way to teach them to be better teachers! If I want to practice with experienced teachers, it’s my duty as a yoga student and instructor to support them so that each teacher can actually become experienced.

Amanda Hippert

Born and raised in Costa Rica, Amanda considers herself half Costa Rican, and half Buffalonian at heart. She began practicing Bikram yoga in Costa Rica in October 2007, and continued her practice after moving to Buffalo in 2008. Amanda felt her yoga practice start to make a positive difference not only on her body, but on her life, and the people around her. Her passion for yoga led her to complete the evolation yoga Summer 2010 Teacher Training. Her practice has helped her to find balance in times of great change and suffering, and she hopes to share that balance and serenity with her students. Amanda feels truly grateful for the friendship and security that the local yoga community continues to provide her with.

  • Patrick

    Nice post Amanda, well written. I cherish all who share the room with me when I teach. I am honored that they have trusted their practice with me. But when an experienced instructor, or a peer trainee, is in one of my classes, I am grateful for an opportunity to hear some feedback, a most precious commodity outside the immersion.

  • Kattya

    Inspiring! I hope you continue to share your experiences!! :)

  • http://www.theyogapathtransforms.com nicole petroff

    Thanks for writing this Amanda. As a student of yoga since 1996 and teaching since 2007 I have found that every teacher experienced or new has something unique to bring to class. Therefore something different can be learned or experienced about yourself, life, and the yoga practice in every class as long as we remain open to receiving it. The belief that we can learn more from experienced teachers is just a belief system( bs) in which the more we keep practicing with all kinds of teachers can be broken. Practicing with many teachers and many styles of yoga brings a more well rounded practice to learn about the self in different ways. Getting attached to one teacher or style limits ourselves and what we can learn, by staying in our comfort zone. I encourage practitioners to go to many teachers and styles, and more than once because there is so much to learn from it all once were able to let go of the judgments or expectations of the class and be present and open. My point is, we are all teachers to each other, we can all inspire growth in many different ways with each other no matter if you call yourself a teacher or a practitioner. The more we practice the more we can let in. Namaste inspirational Amanda

  • Kristalee

    Wonderful article! I am always so grateful when you or any more experienced teacher takes my class. It creates a sense that “I’m not alone in this.” The feedback that the experienced teachers offer is so valuable and everyone is so honest and mindful about it- it really teaches me how to embody Yoga philosophy and to keep working.