Today more than ever etiquette is important. Abiding by a shared Yoga Teacher Manifesto will help us garner more respect and elevate Yoga as a respectable profession.
According to Wikipedia “a rule of etiquette may reflect an underlying ethical code.” Yogically we know this as the Yamas and Niyamas. Therefore it makes sense that Yoga Teachers have a practical version of this beyond what Yoga Alliance presents us with. As professionals, this helps us set-up realistic expectations with our students.
Is Professionalism going extinct?
According to the 2012 study by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College, the Polk-Lepson
Research Group surveyed 629 human resource and management professionals for their "Professionalism In The Workplace" study. One-third of the HR and management professionals surveyed believe professionalism has declined over the past three years. If this is what is going on the corporate world we as yoga teachers are likely facing this same decline. The four indicators of professionalism are: Interpersonal skills (33.6%), work ethic (27.3%), appearance (25.3%), communication skills (24.9%).
10 Steps To Elevate The Yoga Teaching Profession from Good to Great
- Be prepared - demonstrate competency by being organized and professional
- Remain a student – practice yoga, take classes, workshops, trainings
- Create a safe, honest and comfortable environment for students
- Give gratitude to your teachers
- Serve your students – it’s about them. Maintain student confidentiality and appropriate professional boundaries.
- Make yourself available – connect with students after class, return emails and phone calls in a timely way
- Keep it real - Be a positive example of authenticity. Don’t just pretend to be a yoga teacher. Instead be yourself. Demonstrate what it means to live your yoga. And never knowingly misrepresent professional qualifications or certifications
- Remember this is not a popularity contest – stop competing with fellow teachers and avoid the humble brag or other ways of comparison
- Show up and be present – put aside your drama and tune in to those students in front of you
- Get healthy, stay healthy – practice radical self-care, build a therapeutic support system outside your students. They are not your therapist.
Yama is socially ethical behavior, how you treat others and the world around you. There are five yamas:
- Nonviolence (ahimsa)
- Truth and honesty (satya)
- Nonstealing (asteya)
- Moving toward truth (brahmacharya)
- Non-greed (aparigraha)
Niyama is an inner discipline and responsibility, how we treat ourselves. There are five niyamas:
- Purity (shauca)
- Contentment (santosha)
- Discipline (tapas)
- Self-study (svadhyaya)
- Surrender (ishvara-pranidhana)
It is up to each of us to implement this manifesto and increase the professionalism of teaching yoga. Do it for yourself, do it for your fellow teachers and do it for your students.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!