Should Yoga Teachers Give Emotional Counseling?

Should Yoga Teachers Give Emotional Counseling?

emotional counselingBy Eleanor Bartel

Should Yoga teachers give emotional counseling? At its core, yoga is a healing practice that works on various levels. It affects the physical body and mind and has a spiritual and emotional effect on people. The emotional aspect of yoga can often come out unexpectedly in a class, especially in certain poses that encourage emotional release, like the camel pose and the child’s pose.


Understanding Your Limits

As a yoga teacher, it is vital to recognize these emotions in students and help them through them. Sometimes, this involves recommending outside emotional counseling for more serious personal issues. Emotional breakthroughs can be sudden and intense in yoga classes.

Firstly, specific poses can release many emotions for students, from joy to profound sadness. Secondly, these emotions may come out in the form of laughter or crying. Thirdly, as a yoga instructor, you should be prepared for these events to occur in your class. Lastly, students can experience emotional releases whether you teach a relaxing meditative session or a fast-paced power yoga class.

Recognizing Emotional Breakthroughs

Learn to recognize the common poses that can trigger these breakthroughs – heart-openers, intense backbends, and grounding positions are common emotional triggers. If you see students struggling with their emotions during class, approach them gently.

Make sure they know that these types of emotional breakthroughs are expected in yoga practice and that it is perfectly acceptable to express what they are feeling through tears or laughter. Do your best to maintain a compassionate and understanding demeanor – many students will be embarrassed or ashamed at being unable to control their feelings in a public setting.


Discussing Emotions

As a yoga teacher, it is perfectly acceptable to discuss emotions and their relation to the practice in your class or outside the studio. To help your students connect with their inner selves, you can introduce poses that encourage emotional breakthroughs and teach students how to recognize and celebrate the feelings that come up.

Since many people are used to hiding their emotions publicly, yoga class is an excellent place to experiment with allowing feelings to show without shame or embarrassment. It would help if you encouraged students to consider their emotions in every class, whether they are there for fitness, rehabilitation, or spiritual growth.

Anyone can benefit from having an open-minded teacher who doesn’t let the emotional aspect of yoga fall by the wayside. This doesn’t mean we open emotional counseling services, but we are tolerant of the fact that our students are human and have moods and feelings.


When to Refer Students

Yoga teachers are well versed in many emotions, but sometimes people will need more help than they are equipped to give. It is good to be prepared with resources for mental health professionals, support groups, and hotlines designed for emotional counseling.

If someone is struggling with deep-seated issues coming up from their past, you may want to recommend deeper therapeutic options that can help them work through it. While yoga should be continued as a great way to confront emotions and reduce stress, it may not always be enough.

As an instructor, it is essential to recognize when you are out of your depth and when you should consider recommending another professional. While you can still be there for your student and support them through your classes, you should not be the only one they can turn to. There is nothing wrong with having a solid support network for difficult emotional breakthroughs.



There is a lot that yoga teachers can do for students experiencing emotional breakthroughs. As an instructor, you can offer support and healing through yoga. However, it is essential to remember that you are not a licensed counselor or therapist. Sometimes, your student may need more to get through a difficult time.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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3 thoughts on “Should Yoga Teachers Give Emotional Counseling?”

  1. Continue yoga practice is a great way to confront emotions and reduce stress and a yoga teacher also works as a emotional counselor. very much informative article.

  2. A yoga teacher not a licensed counselor but as a great teacher one’s should do the best to support the student for difficult emotional breakthroughs. Thanks for sharing this good article!

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