Teaching Yoga by Example: Cultivate Patience

Teaching Yoga by Example: Cultivate Patience

teaching yoga for healingBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed.

How can you start teaching Yoga by example? One of the most transformational aspects of Yoga “on the mat,” is how this practice transforms our lives “off the mat.” As a professional teacher, you are probably well aware of how your own practice of asanas, pranayama exercises, and breathing techniques has transformed your own life. This may have been one of your main reasons for pursuing a teacher certification so that you are able to share the profound physical and psychological benefits of this practice with others in your community.


Teaching Yoga by Example and Philosophy

You may have also enrolled in a Yoga teacher certification program, to deepen your own experience the myriad of benefits that this ancient and time-tested practice offers to regular practitioners. Additionally, you may be interested in exploring the classical Indian scriptures.

There are many resources, such as the Yoga Vasistha and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, that form the foundation for many of the various forms and styles that are practiced today. As you begin to explore and understand more of the layers of profound wisdom that are found in the pages of these classical texts, you will be able to offer this wisdom back to your students.

Modeling Wisdom

An important aspect of teaching Yoga classes that is often overlooked is the modeling of the wisdom of classical Yogic texts by the teacher during class. In other words, the teacher ideally models many of the noble qualities enumerated in the scriptural texts from around the world, including patience and compassion, during his or her class. For example, imagine the irony of being short-tempered with one of your students if he or she cannot stay up in Headstand for a full three minutes!

Let’s just say, that this level of impatience would certainly not be in alignment with the advice of the ancient sages and seers of India. By personally modeling the noble qualities and virtuous actions recommended by the classical Yogic texts during your class, you will provide a genuine and tangible example for your students to follow. Many of these noble qualities and virtues, such as honesty, generosity, and patience, are not necessarily valued today. Teaching Yoga by example is under-appreciated, but beneficial for students.


The Spirit of Ancient Texts

Certainly being dishonest is not valued either. Yet, getting ahead and multi-tasking at all times of the day and night are held in much higher regard today. There used to be time for slowing down enough to be patient with oneself and those around us.

Behavioral experts estimate that 93% of our communication is nonverbal. According to their research, approximately 38% of our communication is through the tone and cadence of our voice. Meanwhile, the other 55% is through our body language. A paltry 7% of our communication is through the words that we use!

As a professional Yoga instructor, this means that embodying the spirit of the ancient scriptures, including fostering an internal state of patience and compassion for your students, is of the utmost importance. Over time, your students will learn to be patient with themselves. At the same time, students learn to be kind to each other by watching the patient and kind way that you treat them.

With a consistent and dedicated Yoga practice, the wisdom revealed in the ancient scriptures will begin to arise from within the hearts and minds of your students. This will allow your students to truly integrate the practice of Yoga “on the mat,” into their everyday actions in the world.

About the Author

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over thirty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Are you considering how to become a yoga instructor? See our selection of affordable meditation and yoga teacher certification courses.

Are you interested in Trauma-Informed Yoga Certification?

Do you want to become a mindfulness meditation teacher?

See our selection of Yoga instructor courses and continuing education courses; please visit the following link.


Click here to see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.

Online Yoga Course for Anxiety Relief

Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products

Related Resources


52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen Your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz.


A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman


by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

Related Posts

Teaching Yoga: The Best Methods for Observing Yoga Classes

How to Maximize Safety in Yoga Classes

Teaching Yoga by Example: Cultivate Patience in Your Classes

By Gopi Rao, Sangeetha Saran, and Kimaya Singh

Welcome to a journey of patience and mindfulness in the world of yoga teaching. As instructors, we hold the power to guide and inspire our students through their practice, fostering growth not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. Let’s explore how teaching yoga by example can cultivate patience in your classes, creating a space where all students feel supported and empowered on their unique paths toward self-discovery and well-being.

Understanding the Role of a Yoga Teacher

As a yoga teacher, your role goes beyond just demonstrating poses and sequences. You are a guide, not an authoritarian figure in the studio. Your job is to create a safe and welcoming space for students to explore their practice without judgment or pressure.

By embodying qualities of patience, compassion, and understanding, you can inspire your students to cultivate these same virtues within themselves. Remember that each student is on their unique journey, and it’s not about perfection but progress.

Encourage self-awareness and mindfulness in your classes by emphasizing the importance of listening to one’s body and honoring its limitations. Guide students to connect with their breath and stay present in the moment during practice.

By fostering a supportive environment where students feel empowered to listen to their bodies and make choices that serve them best, you are fulfilling your role as a compassionate guide on their yoga journey.

Creating a Welcoming and Environment for Students

When it comes to teaching yoga, creating a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for your students is essential. Set the tone from the moment they walk in by greeting them with a warm smile and an open heart. Make sure your space feels inviting, calm, and inclusive for everyone who enters.

Encourage an atmosphere of acceptance and respect where students feel comfortable being themselves without fear of judgment. Embrace diversity in all its forms – whether it be physical ability, body size, or experience level. Celebrate each student’s unique journey on the mat.

Create opportunities for connection within your class by fostering a sense of community among participants. Encourage interaction through partner poses or group discussions after practice. By nurturing a safe and supportive space, you empower students to explore their practice without limitations or self-doubt.

Remember that as a yoga teacher, you are not just guiding students through poses; you are also cultivating a sanctuary for growth, self-discovery, and transformation within your studio walls.

Incorporating Modifications and Variations

When teaching yoga, it’s crucial to cater to the diverse needs and abilities of your students. Incorporating modifications and variations in poses allows each individual to find their own expression of the practice. For beginners, offering simpler versions of poses helps build a strong foundation before progressing to more advanced variations.

Intermediate students may benefit from exploring modifications that challenge them while still maintaining proper alignment and safety. By providing options for different levels, you create an inclusive environment where everyone feels supported in their practice.

Remember that every body is unique, so encourage students to listen to their own needs and honor their limitations without judgment. Emphasize the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness throughout the practice, guiding students to tune into how each pose feels in their body.

By adapting your teaching approach to accommodate various levels of experience, you empower your students to explore yoga in a way that suits them best.

Teaching Yoga Poses for Different Student Levels

Teaching yoga poses for different student levels requires adaptability and sensitivity. Each student comes to the mat with their own unique strengths and limitations, so it’s essential to offer variations that cater to everyone’s needs. Beginners may need more guidance and support in foundational poses like Downward Dog or Warrior I, whereas advanced students might benefit from exploring deeper expressions of postures.

Offering modifications allows students to feel empowered in their practice while also challenging themselves at a level that suits them best. It’s about creating a space where each individual can grow and progress at their own pace without feeling pressured to keep up with others in the class. By tailoring your instructions based on varying skill levels, you cultivate an inclusive environment where everyone feels seen and supported on their yoga journey.

Remember, teaching yoga is not just about leading a sequence of movements; it’s about guiding students towards self-discovery and personal growth through the practice of asanas. Embrace the diversity of your students’ abilities and celebrate their progress no matter how big or small.

Incorporating Modifications and Variations in Poses

As a yoga teacher, it’s essential to understand that each student comes to your class with unique strengths and limitations. Incorporating modifications and variations in poses can make the practice accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of experience or flexibility.

Offering modifications allows students to tailor the pose to their individual needs, ensuring they can still benefit from the posture while preventing injury. Encouraging students to listen to their bodies and honor where they are at in that moment fosters self-awareness and self-care during practice.

Variations provide opportunities for students to challenge themselves as they progress in their yoga journey. By offering different options, you empower your students to explore their potential while respecting their current abilities.

Remember, teaching yoga is about guiding and supporting your students on their path towards physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By incorporating modifications and variations in poses, you create a inclusive environment where everyone feels supported in their practice.

Teaching Students to Practice Mindfulness

Teaching students to practice mindfulness in yoga classes goes beyond just physical postures; it’s about cultivating a deeper connection with the present moment. Encouraging students to focus on their breath and sensations helps them develop awareness of their bodies and minds.

Guiding them to observe thoughts without judgment allows for a sense of inner peace and acceptance to blossom. Reminding students to stay grounded in the here and now fosters a sense of calm amidst life’s chaos.

Incorporating moments of stillness and reflection during class can help students anchor themselves in the present moment. By teaching mindfulness, we empower our students to carry this practice off the mat and into their daily lives, fostering greater emotional resilience and self-awareness.

As instructors, we set an example by embodying mindfulness ourselves, showing that it is a lifelong journey rather than a destination.

Actively Listening to Student’s Needs During Class

As a yoga teacher, actively listening to your students’ needs during class is crucial for creating a supportive and enriching environment. When you tune in to what your students are expressing – whether verbally or through their body language – you show them that their well-being matters.

By attentively listening, you can better understand each student’s unique challenges, preferences, and limitations. This allows you to tailor your instructions and adjustments accordingly, ensuring that every individual feels seen and supported in their practice.

Listening actively also fosters trust and rapport between you and your students. It shows that you value their input and are committed to helping them progress safely on their yoga journey. Remember, effective communication is a two-way street; by listening intently, you set the tone for open dialogue and mutual respect within the class.

Incorporating active listening into your teaching not only enhances the overall experience for your students but also deepens your connection with them on a personal level. So next time you step onto the mat as an instructor, remember that lending an ear can make all the difference in guiding others towards growth and self-discovery through yoga.

Encouraging Student Self-Acceptance

Encouraging student self-acceptance in yoga classes is a crucial aspect of teaching by example. As a yoga teacher, creating an environment where students feel accepted and supported just as they are fosters growth and confidence on their mats. By emphasizing self-compassion over perfection, you inspire students to embrace their individual journey without judgment.

Please encourage your students to cultivate kindness toward themselves during practice, reminding them that each day on the mat is different, and that’s perfectly okay. Emphasize the importance of listening to their bodies and honoring their limits without comparing them to others in the class.

Remind students that progress in yoga isn’t measured by how well they can perform a pose but rather by how connected they feel within themselves during the practice. Encouraging self-acceptance enhances their physical training and nurtures their mental and emotional well-being both on and off the mat.

Avoiding Comparisons Among Students

In teaching yoga, fostering an environment where comparisons among students are discouraged is crucial. Each individual comes to their mat with a unique body, background, and journey. Emphasizing self-awareness over competition can lead to a more fulfilling practice for everyone involved.

When students are encouraged to focus inward and honor their own progress without measuring themselves against others, they are more likely to experience personal growth. Remind your class that each person’s practice is entirely their own and should be respected as such.

By steering clear of comparing one student’s abilities or progress to another’s, you create space for acceptance and appreciation of diversity within the group. Let go of any inclination toward judgment or competition; instead, cultivate a mindset of support and unity throughout your classes.

Dealing with Challenging Class Situations

Teaching yoga is a rewarding journey, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, challenging class situations that test your patience and teaching skills can arise. Maybe you have a student who struggles with a particular pose or seems distracted throughout the session.

Remember to stay calm and approach the situation with compassion in moments like these. Offer guidance without judgment and be open to modifications that cater to individual needs. This flexibility shows students that yoga is about progress, not perfection.

If tensions rise in the class, take a deep breath and address any issues calmly. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for everyone to express themselves freely. You can navigate through challenging moments with grace by fostering understanding and empathy.

Facing hurdles in teaching yoga allows you to grow as an instructor and a practitioner. Embrace these challenges as opportunities for learning and self-improvement on your yogic path.

Maintaining Patience in Difficult Situations

Maintaining patience in difficult situations is a vital skill for any yoga teacher. When faced with challenges like students struggling with a pose or disruptive behavior, staying calm and composed is essential. Taking a deep breath and centering yourself can help you respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively.

Remember that everyone has their journey in yoga, and progress looks different for each student. By cultivating empathy and understanding, you can approach challenging situations with compassion. Offering gentle guidance and support can make all the difference in helping students overcome obstacles.

It’s also important to practice self-care as a teacher. Prioritize your well-being so that you can show up fully present for your students even during challenging moments. Trust in teaching yoga by example, knowing that patience is vital to creating a nurturing learning environment.


As we wrap up our discussion on teaching yoga by example, we must reflect on cultivating patience in our classes. Understanding that you serve as a guide rather than an authoritarian figure is key to creating a positive and nurturing environment for your students.

Incorporating modifications and variations in poses allows students of all levels to feel included and supported during their practice. Teaching with consideration for different student levels encourages growth and progress while honoring each individual’s journey.

Practicing mindfulness on and off the mat can deepen the connection between mind, body, and spirit. Actively listening to your students’ needs fosters trust and shows them that their well-being is your priority.

Encouraging self-acceptance and discouraging comparisons among students promote a sense of unity within the class. Even in challenging situations, maintaining patience will help you navigate difficulties gracefully.

By embodying patience in your teaching approach, you inspire your students to embrace this quality on and off their mats.


Teaching yoga by example is not just about demonstrating poses; it’s about embodying the qualities you wish to cultivate in your students. Patience, compassion, and mindfulness are essential traits for a yoga teacher to possess and model. By creating a welcoming environment, offering modifications, practicing active listening, and encouraging self-acceptance, you can teach your students valuable lessons on and off the mat.

Remember that every student comes to class with their unique strengths and challenges. Embrace these differences and guide each individual with patience and understanding. Stay grounded in your mindfulness practice and be present for your students every step of the way.

As you continue your yoga teacher journey, let patience be your guiding light. Your example will inspire others to cultivate this virtue within themselves both on and off the mat. Through leading by example, you have the power to positively impact the lives of those who come to practice with you. Keep shining brightly as a beacon of patience in all that you do – both as a teacher and as a practitioner.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division


Leave a Comment

Your Cart