How to Teach Yoga by Example: Gracious Acceptance

How to Teach Yoga by Example: Gracious Acceptance

how to teach yoga sessionsBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Do you want more tips about how to teach Yoga by example? Like most dedicated teachers, you continually strive to make progress in your practice. Most likely, this drive to succeed comes into play in your life, both on and off the mat. As a professional Yoga instructor, you may find that many of your students will emulate your way of approaching the practice in the way that they approach their practice. In addition, many of your students will also model your psychological approach to difficult poses and other personal challenges during class and in their daily interactions off the mat.


How to Teach Yoga by Example

As a certified Yoga teacher, the exemplary bar is relatively high regarding how you nonverbally communicate the deeper aspects of this ancient physical practice and spiritual approach to life to your students. Many different scriptural Yogic texts detail the optimal way of practicing asanas and pranayama exercises.

Additionally, you learn how to integrate the wisdom of the practice into your day-to-day life. This detail includes advice on how to cleanse the body, how to control the unruly nature of the mind, and how to best approach difficult situations in our lives.

When you begin to understand the ultimate goal of a well-rounded Yoga practice, you will develop a deep respect for the ability of a regular practice of asanas, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques to balance and cleanse the body and calm the mind.

Vedic Texts

The Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are two of the most well-loved Vedic scriptures that outline the optimal way of practicing Yoga and harnessing the deep knowledge and well-being that the practice generates to be more efficient in our day-to-day lives.

Both of these texts outline in detail how to integrate the practice of Yoga into every level of your body and mind. When your experience of Yoga deepens to the point where you begin to naturally and spontaneously “walk your talk” off the mat.

As a result, you will find that your life begins to resonate with more balance and well being. When this happens, you will naturally teach Yoga by how you comport yourself during a class. In addition to instructing your students on how to do the various postures and pranayama exercises, how you approach perceived challenges and obstacles during a Yoga class will profoundly impact your students.


Walking Your Talk

One of the inner attitudes of Yoga extolled in the Vedic scriptures is the expansive and calming nature of gracious acceptance. This term essentially means to calmly and openly accept a situation as it is before taking appropriate action.

It does not mean to simply passively accept an unacceptable or unsafe situation and do nothing about it! However, in our fast-paced, multi-tasking culture, pausing long enough to register how a situation is before trying to change it to fit our ideal scenario is often overlooked.

This sense of always rushing to change or fix a situation in the course of only a few minutes takes away the opportunity to see and understand a situation or a way of approaching a problem as a coping mechanism that has served a helpful purpose in the past, but which may be derailing our goals in the present situation.


Teaching and Thinking on Your Feet

For instance, you may have a student in your Yoga class who is used to ignoring the signals of his or her body and pushing past the pain to achieve a specific physical goal. In turn, this student may be quite prone to injury.

The odds of injury are increased if he or she aggressively tries to do some postures that are out of reach of his or her current level of flexibility. In this example, you can model a state of gracious acceptance for your student.

Awareness is enhanced by asking the student to pause momentarily and notice how his or her body feels. As your Yoga student becomes aware of what his or her body truly needs at the moment, without negating, minimizing, or justifying another course of action, you can model a state of gracious acceptance of “what is” for your student.

In this way, your student will feel more accepting of his or her own physical aptitude and level of fitness. This state of open, gracious acceptance will then allow both you and your student to choose appropriate Yoga postures and breathing exercises that will truly nurture the student’s strength, flexibility, and a deep, inner sense of respectful equanimity.


© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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How to Teach Yoga by Example Today

By Faye Martins and Sangeetha Saran

Teaching yoga by example goes beyond verbal cues and technical instructions. It is about embodying the principles and philosophy of yoga in your own life, serving as a living, breathing representation of its transformative power. As a yoga teacher, your actions speak louder than words, influencing how students perceive and engage with their practice.

By authentically living your yoga off the mat, you inspire others to cultivate mindfulness, compassion, and self-awareness in their own lives. Leading by example means practicing what you preach – cultivating inner peace, resilience, and authenticity that ripple outwards to those around you.

When you teach yoga by example, you create a sacred space for growth and self-discovery. Your presence becomes a mirror for students to reflect on their journey toward holistic well-being. Embrace this opportunity to guide others through poses and mindful living rooted in the yogic principles of unity and harmony.

Student Benefits of Teaching Yoga by Example

When yoga teachers lead by example, students are inspired to deepen their practice. By embodying mindfulness and compassion on the mat, instructors create a positive environment for growth. Students benefit from observing how their teacher integrates yoga principles into daily life, fostering a holistic approach to well-being.

Teaching yoga by example allows students to witness firsthand the transformative power of the practice. Through consistent demonstration of asanas, breathwork, and meditation techniques, instructors guide individuals toward inner peace and self-discovery. This experiential learning helps students internalize yogic values and authentically incorporate them into their lives.

Furthermore, when teachers model authenticity and vulnerability in their teaching, it encourages students to embrace their imperfections with kindness. This nurturing atmosphere cultivates a sense of community and support among practitioners on their journey towards self-improvement through yoga.


Leading by Example: Tips for Teaching Yoga Classes

When it comes to teaching yoga classes, leading by example is key. As a yoga instructor, your students look to you as a role model for their practice. By embodying the principles of yoga in your own life, you can inspire and motivate those around you.

One tip for leading by example in your classes is to consistently show up with a positive attitude and an open heart. Your energy sets the tone for the entire class, so staying grounded and present can help create a safe and welcoming space for everyone.

Another way to lead by example is to demonstrate proper alignment and mindfulness during practice. When students see you practicing with intention and awareness, they are more likely to mirror that behavior in their poses.

Additionally, showing compassion towards yourself and others can profoundly impact how your students perceive their practice. By cultivating self-love and acceptance on the mat, you encourage your students to do the same off the mat.

Incorporating these tips into your teaching enhances your students’ experience and deepens your connection to the practice of yoga itself.

Creating a Positive and Inclusive Environment

Creating a positive and inclusive environment in your yoga classes is crucial for fostering community and belonging among your students. Start by greeting each student warmly as they arrive, making them feel welcomed and valued when they enter the space.

Encourage open communication by actively listening to your student’s needs and feedback. Create a safe space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences without judgment. Embrace diversity and celebrate differences among your students, honoring each individual’s journey on the mat.

Use inclusive language that promotes unity rather than division, avoiding assumptions or stereotypes. Offer modifications for poses to accommodate various abilities and body types, ensuring that all students feel supported in their practice. Foster a non-competitive atmosphere where kindness, compassion, and respect are prioritized over ego or comparison.

By promoting positivity, inclusivity, and acceptance in your yoga classes, you can cultivate a supportive community where individuals feel empowered to explore their practice freely and authentically.


The Importance of Self-Care for Yoga Teachers

Yoga teachers are crucial in guiding students on their journey to physical and mental well-being. However, while focusing on helping others, yoga instructors must prioritize self-care.

Teaching yoga can be physically and emotionally demanding. Instructors should take time for themselves to recharge and rejuvenate. Engaging in personal yoga practice, meditation, or other forms of self-care can help teachers maintain balance and prevent burnout.

Self-care also sets a positive example for students. By practicing what they preach, yoga teachers demonstrate the importance of prioritizing one’s health and wellness. This authenticity strengthens the teacher-student relationship, and fosters trust within the class environment.

Incorporating self-care rituals into daily routines can benefit teachers and students. Taking care of oneself allows instructors to show up fully present, energized, and ready to inspire those around them with their teachings.


As we wrap up our discussion on teaching yoga by example, reflecting on the key points covered in this article is essential. Embodying the principles of yoga in your own life inspires your students and deepens your practice. Teaching by example involves living authentically and leading with compassion.

Incorporating yoga into your daily routine, whether through asana practice, meditation, or mindfulness exercises, creates a more balanced and centered way of being. Those around you can feel this resonance, and it is a powerful tool for teaching without words.

Leading by example in a yoga class means demonstrating proper alignment and breathing techniques and embracing a nonjudgmental atmosphere. Creating a positive and inclusive environment where students feel supported and encouraged is essential for growth both on and off the mat.

Remember that self-care is crucial for yoga teachers to avoid burnout and maintain energy levels. Prioritizing your well-being allows you to show up fully present for your students each time you step onto the mat.

By embodying the essence of yoga in all aspects of your life, you teach others how to find balance and peace and continue to evolve on your spiritual journey.



Teaching yoga by example is not just about mastering poses or sequences; it’s about embodying the values and principles of yoga in every aspect of your life. By leading with authenticity, compassion, and mindfulness, you can inspire your students to cultivate these qualities within themselves.

Incorporating yoga into your daily routine allows you to stay connected to the practice and lead by example effortlessly. Whether you take a few moments for meditation in the morning or practice gratitude before bed, small gestures can significantly impact your overall well-being and those around you.

Remember that creating a positive and inclusive classroom environment fosters student growth and transformation. Encourage open communication, respect individual differences, and celebrate progress no matter how small.

As a yoga teacher, prioritize self-care. Take time to recharge through personal practice, connecting with nature, or seeking support from fellow teachers. By nourishing your well-being, you can continue to inspire others authentically.

Teaching yoga by example is a lifelong journey of growth and learning. Embrace each moment on the mat as an opportunity to lead with integrity and compassion—not just for yourself but also for those who look up to you as a guide on their path toward greater health and happiness.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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