So, I've been teaching for 3 years now. Not too much time, admittedly, but enough time to have a decent grasp of my own style and what works well for students and what works less well. As someone who has to promote myself as a small business, as well as continue a personal practice, I am constantly looking for ways to improve myself as a teacher and student and bring in more people.
To expand my skill-set and business acumen, I tend to look to yoga studios/teachers who are successful. What do they offer that brings so many people in? What is it that yoga practitioners are looking for in a teacher, studio, class format, etc.?
And I have to say that it's impossible to collect this type of information and not allow it to inform your own personal methods. When you take someone's class, it's only natural that you learn something new and begin to transmit that information in your own way.
I have been moving around the world for the past 5 or so years. I have studied with some incredible teachers all around the world. Here are some of my biggest influences over the past years:
❊ Theresa Murphy, Omaha, NE
❊ Lucie Konikova in Prague, Czech Republic
❊ Ben Vincent in MPLS
❊ Laurel Van Matre in MPLS
❊ Rod Stryker of Para Yoga in Boulder, CO
❊ Ganesh Mohan of Svastha Yoga in Chennai, India
This is an eclectic bunch of individuals with many different styles and approaches. I love being open to all different types of styles and being able to incorporate them into my own teaching. Theresa Murphy, my biggest yoga influence calls herself a "cross-pollinator" implying that she gets her information from multiple sources. I can't help but be the same way. When there are so many traditions and methods out there, why would you not experience as many of them as possible?
It is very challenging for me not to get mired down in the yoga pop culture muck. And the notion that one particular way/method is the only way is very prevalent in Western yoga culture. If you want people to buy your brand, you have to promote it as the brand.
What I have recently realized is that through my knowledge-seeking, I have strayed from teaching in my own very personal way. I have lost track of teaching in a way that is completely true to me. Not that I have not been teaching well or am disappointed with myself, but I have been learning so much really new material and trying to rectify it with my own personal style. And, I came to realize that it isn't really working. Part of the challenge of being a good teacher is transmitting the knowledge you obtain in a way that is clear and meaningful for your students. And you can't really do that if you're teaching in another teacher's style/way. For me, the most important thing is to be completely true to myself.
This is not to say that we shouldn't be open to the vast expanse of knowledge that is out there. And I wouldn't trade my experience/studies for anything else. But it became clear to me that I've been trying to share information without first making it my own.Armed with this revelatory knowledge, not to mention yogic information, I forge on.