10 Tips for More Compassionate Yoga Teaching

I consider myself a compassionate person. But the other day, as I was teaching a class, I had a lesson in compassion. A newer student arrived right as I was about to start. She scooted in, got set up and then in the middle of class, she began to dig around in her bag. There were minutes of crinkling; the sound of a candy wrapper. I found myself distracted and caught up in the thought of what could be the cause of the noise?

Towards the end of class, as I assisted her in a pose, she whispered apologetically to me that she was sorry for the noise; she had low blood sugar and needed to eat something. In that moment, I chastised myself; how quick I was to get distracted when in fact she was just taking care of herself.

Compassion, like any other quality, needs to be practiced regularly or it’s just like an unused muscle; it loses its ability to flex when needed. Exercising compassion towards others is often easier than to show it to our own self. If you teach yoga, it’s even harder as you’ll find yourself nit picking yourself to death over the smallest things. Here’s a quick checklist that might help you keep compassion in mind:

Towards students:

Towards yourself: 

Yoga is a heart-centered practice; we lead with our heart more than our head. Compassion is a heart-centered emotion. The more we practice both the physical and the emotional, the bigger our hearts grow.

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