In response to “Yoga in the Era of the Rock Star Yoga Teacher” by Sarah Wolton

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I recently noticed the above article posted on a local yoga instructor (Laura Martini’s) FB page and it inspired me to pause and reflect. I remember y first “yoga-boss” told me I was teaching too bootcamp-like…BUT my classes were filled to the absolute brim! I had a mass audience attracted to the I-need-a-hardcore-workout and high energy classes. My previous sales experience (clothing rep for 12 years) served me well in a room of 40+ people. I was able to turn on the charm, lead and instruct with enthusiasm, as well as connect and inspire on a personable level that allowed for my classes to mimic sold out shows of a rockstar.

After 3 years as an instructor, I find my teachings have perhaps become less “cheerleader-like” allowing for students to find their edge through self-inspection by giving space in combination with encouraging students to find their own introspective challenges. How’s my attendance now? Like most things in life, their are ebbs and flows. Somedays I’m on fire, others reflect a mellow calmness, and some offer stimulation and insight. I have noticed that in many personal yoga journeys teachers and students are drawn to the athletic side of yoga, to then getting a “hit” of the deeper body/mind/soul connection , and maybe even taking that to another level and graduating from their own teacher training to share this enlightenment with the world.

I’ve never set a goal for myself to become a “rockstar” teacher but do consider elite teachers as Meghan Currie and Briohny Smyth to be a true inspiration. In my opinion teaching styles should develop organically. My biggest pet peeve is instructors regurgitating their teachers words rather than coming from their own growth and experience. (See billion dollar industry!) Look back to the cool crowd in high school…charisma & looks were most prevalent, they might have grown up to be head of advertising agencies, actors, entrepreuners. And the not-so-cool (geeks?) commonly grew up to be multi-billionairres starting Facebook or Google, or ended up with the Ferrari and the lakeside property! Intelligence vs. looks is always a conundrum in modern society and affects most areas in our lives – Jobs, education, sports, business, relationships. So it’s not a surprise to me that this rockstar phenomena is also prevalent in the yoga industry.

What counts is that as teachers we share the lessons we learn from our many teachers (including the almighty teacher Mr. Universe) to our students through asana, introspection, and pranayama…and most importantly, translate those lessons effectively to our students. It is a fine line between an enlightening selfless guru and a fame-seeking narcissistic guru. (I am finishing the book ‘Hell-Bent‘ and its brutal honesty of Bikram’s trainings, teaching, and personality shed a new light on this topic – a good read indeed!)

What style of yoga class are you attracted to? Power? Yin? Freestyle? Perhaps its reflective of what kind of yoga teacher you seek? Notice and share your own (perhaps always changing and shifting) journey through yoga. As every yoga pose has an intention, so does every experience/lesson we have in life.

Sarah is the co-owner and an instructor at The Hot Box Yoga in Kelowna, BC.

 

  • Kristy

    Thanks for sharing Sarah – a great perspective and I agree share what you are true and authentic to and people will show up!

  • Kelowna_Yoga

    Thanks for your feedback!

  • Kelowna_Yoga

    Test