Ethics and Professionalism - Teaching Hatha Yoga - Yoga Practice Blog

Ethics and Professionalism – Teaching Hatha Yoga

ethics and professionalismBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

How important are the ethics and professionalism component during a Yoga teacher training? What value will ethics and professionalism have in the long term, when you are actively teaching Yoga classes? Let’s discuss this and a few other related topics that come up during a typical Yoga instructor training intensive at Aura Wellness Center.


Know Your Role

Any time you are sitting at the front of the class, in a teaching capacity, your role must fit comfortably into Yoga teacher/student relationship guidelines. This concept of role-playing is a difficult transition for any intern, regardless of past experience.

Change Within

It is one thing to make sure you are concentrating on your breath, alignment, mantra, bandhas, or mudra; but when you teach Yoga, you must focus on a room full of students with separate thoughts. With responsibility, changes come from within you.


Class Standard

Suddenly, the standard of your classes is in question within your own mind. This is the real issue, within your own mind; your classes may be criticized, but do not criticize yourself in public.

The Power of Criticism

If you have taken the time to develop a lesson plan and guided a class from start to finish, do not ask any of your students for criticism. If another teacher offers some tips, you can always listen and learn, but your students have never taught classes.


Understanding the Learning Curve

You will also reinforce doubts from your students by asking them for a critique. Many new Yoga instructors go through a learning curve, but you do not have to make an announcement. Consider this: Every Yoga teacher, before you, went through the same learning curve, so learn all that you can and avoid beating yourself up along the way.

About Boundaries

You must avoid self-doubt and the appearance of self-doubt when you teach classes. Learn to separate friendships from professional relationships. This is a hard line to walk; especially, if long-time friends are in your class.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with having friends join your classes. However, you have a mission, a task to perform, and a class to lead.


Great Expectations

If you want your classes to be flawless, forget about special relationships during class time. You will be a better Yoga teacher when you treat everyone the same. Remember that if you praise one student for something, it would be fair to praise all of your students for something else. Yoga teachers, who take the time to show positive reinforcement to their students, cultivate an atmosphere of positive energy.

Mindful Teaching

When you teach a class, your mission is to serve.  The class is for the student’s benefit. Think about this, from the beginning to the end, of your class. Be mindful of your words and be careful not to offend anyone. When your students leave feeling better than when they came in that is your reward. Do not seek praise; it is the natural product of a good class. How important are ethics and professionalism? In fact, these are the most important qualities of a Yoga teacher.


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