In our yoga teacher trainings, on the very first day, we ask our students this question. What makes a great yoga teacher? Not a good yoga teacher. Great. It's always a fantastic discussion. We end up with a long list of qualities that a great yoga teacher should have and quickly realise we may or may not have the time to develop them in the 200 hours ahead. But as hard as it is to sequence a class, separate left from right, and communicate the depth of yoga to a room full of people, even when all this is in place a yoga teacher can still be, well just good.
This discussion is important. How do we go from good to great? Do all great yoga teachers fill the room in the big cities? And, if a yoga teacher is popular and has a huge following, does that mean she must be great? Does a yoga teacher in a big high profile studio teach at a higher level than one in a small town space with 8 students? Think about it. Who is a memorable yoga teacher you have come across? One that you were willing to change your own schedule for. One whose class you cancelled when you heard there would be a substitute teacher. What did she have that the others didn't have?
What we have found is that great yoga teachers don't always come in the format of sold out high profile events. The primary quality of a truly great yoga teacher we believe is presence. The ability to truly connect. To work in a dialogue with the students, to see them, to be there in every cell and breath. Keep your eyes open – you can come across a great teacher anywhere at anytime.
In this the year of the mighty Covid-19, the connection of course is challenged. That dialogue with students is always compromised when teaching online. Not to mention when training teachers online. For a brief moment there, we were tempted to move our training to an online format. It seemed like the only way. But it never felt right by our trainees and everything we worked for and stand for.
We are so very grateful to our trainees this year, who have stayed with us and moved their dates forward. With your support and trust, we've been able to stay with our original concept: in-person immersion vinyasa teacher trainings with, you guessed it, human presence and connection for three long weeks. We managed to pull off an in-person training with 12 beautiful souls in Sweden in September. At the time of writing this, we are looking forward to our up-coming sold-out training in Portugal November 2–22, 2020.
Articles about the world of teaching and living Vinyasa Flow Yoga by Elin Jensen and Lisa Andersson Rhodiner