18 Secrets Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew
Fitness,  Yoga

18 Secrets Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew

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Ever wonder what secrets your yoga teacher wishes you knew, what your yoga teacher is thinking while they’re teaching, or what type of person they are outside of class?

There are secrets your yoga teacher wishes you knew about them, who they are, and what they do. There just may not be a good time to discuss it in class.

Most people probably have their own idea about how their yoga teacher is outside of class.

Before I started practicing yoga I had the assumption that most yoga teachers were vegetarians who were always super zen, never lost their sh*t, and generally, had a good handle on their lives and emotions.

Once I started to practice more and moved to Los Angeles, my perception changed a bit. Yoga teachers were now young urbanites who were teaching classes between auditions, waitressing, working retail, and partying. The hustle was real.

It was then that I realized that not all yoga teachers are zen, nor do they always have their sh*t together.

Once I got certified to teach yoga, I started to gather a list of Secrets Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew with the hopes of referencing back to it or eventually writing this post! This list is several years in the making.

18 Secrets Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew

We don’t know every pose

This is probably the most common secret your yoga teacher wishes you knew.

There are thousands of yoga poses and variations.

With the exception of Ashtanga yoga, in which there is a specific series of poses that is the same in each class, we don’t know every pose.

We may also know poses that we cannot do, but can cue and help you into it.

Or we may not have ever heard of a pose.

We don’t practice yoga every day

It’s a good idea to move your body every day.

But none of us are 100% perfect with this goal.

We may practice more yoga than you, or less yoga than you, but not all of us practice every single day.

We have varied diets

Traditionally, yogis adhere to a vegetarian diet. But modern yoga looks a bit different.

Today we acknowledge that every body is different and unique and therefor a vegan or vegetarian diet won’t suit everyone.

I, for instance, am plant based and occasionally eat wild caught seafood or wild game. I also like wine and chocolate. A girl’s gotta live!

We come from all religious backgrounds

Yoga is not a religion. Yoga can be a lifestyle.

Yoga teachers and students can hold any spiritual beliefs they please.

Some yoga teachers incorporate spirituality into their classes, but this is not to be confused with religious teachings or preaching.

Yoga teachers aren’t necessarily flexible or strong

Here’s a secret: Not all of us can touch our toes or hold a handstand. Shocker, I know!

Flexibility and strength is one of those things that is unique to each individual.

While one person may have lots of flexibility in their hips to do the splits, they may not have the flexibility in their hamstrings to bend over and touch their toes.

One person might have lots of strength in their legs and little upper body strength.

The same goes for yoga teachers. We each have our strengths and weaknesses.

We’re not spiritual gurus

While some teachers like to think of themselves as gurus or spiritual leaders, we are not.

We would love to talk about our yoga philosophy, or help you in any way we are capable of. We are trained in mind-body wellness, but our yoga certification does not give us training in life coaching or counseling.

That’s not to say that you can’t have a mental or emotional break through in class. In fact, we invite you to face whatever comes up internally if you’re ready.

We won’t judge if you laugh during a pose or cry in mediation. We’ve all had our moments and want to make sure our students feel like our class is a safe place.

We lose our sh*t sometimes

We’re all living the same human experience.

While your yoga teacher may look like they have it all together and seemingly knows the perfect things to say during class, I assure you they are just as flawed as you.

Yoga teachers get angry, jealous, cuss, and lose it sometimes too. We’re not always zen or mindful. Because we’re human.

We love connecting, so please say “hi”

We teach because we like connecting and sharing. If you feel safe and ready, please do greet us.

We love meeting and getting to know our students.

Yoga is not a competition

This is your practice.

Some people consider yoga to be such a powerful practice that it’s sacred to them.

Yoga is not about anyone else.

When you come to class, don’t try to outdo, or out perform, or out pose someone else in class.

It’s great to have personal goals for a pose, but don’t compare your abilities to someone else’s.

Your practice doesn’t stop at the end of class

The yoga flow you did in class is just one aspect of yoga.

To put it simply, Yoga is an 8 step program to enlightenment. Basically, it’s a framework for how to live a well rounded and healthy lifestyle.

It’s a great practice to carry with you throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter what you wear to class as long as you’re comfortable

You don’t need a special outfit to do yoga.

Sure, the expensive yoga pants are nice, but they’re totally not necessary. Just make sure you’re comfy and you can move.

I’ve practiced in everything from my birthday suit to jeans (I don’t recommend this).

Just do your yoga.

You can modify or skip any pose

You may think that you need to keep up with the class or the teacher’s instructions, but please do what you need to do. We encourage you to listen to your body.

Skip, modify, or replace poses to suit your needs.

No one in class will mind. And your yoga teacher will appreciate you for moving safely instead of potentially injuring yourself.

Skip the perfume or heavily scented items

Conventional perfumes are made to cling onto everything and linger in the air.

This is not what you want for yoga.

Not only can your skin get irritated from your increased body heat, but the scent could physically irritate your classmates or teacher.

We would rather smell your natural sweat than your sweat covered in a sweet or floral smell…YUCK!

No one is looking at your feet

Yoga is practiced barefoot. Everyone in class will be barefoot, even your teacher.

No one is looking at your feet. And if there is a weirdo that is gawking at your piggies just discreetly let your teacher know.

Teachers customize each class, and a lot of time and preparation can go into this

Unless you’re taking an ashtanga class in which every single class is the same series of poses, your yoga teacher probably took a lot of time to create the perfect flow with the perfect transitions, warmup, climax, and cool down.

We get insecure and forget flows or fumble through class

Yoga teachers fumble over words and forget flows sometimes.

We get insecure about teaching others, the way our voice sounds, and our own abilities.

Bodily functions happen

We’ve seen and heard it all. We’ve even been guilty of a burp, stomach gurgle, or fart ourselves.

It’s ok and no one will remember.

We are not experts

Yoga is a huge topic with many different aspects and practices to learn about. In order to truly be a yoga expert, one would have to devote their lives to the yoga lifestyle, practice, and education.

Most of us in the west either have a 200 hour or a 500 hour certification in yoga which is attainable in about 30 full length days of training.

We do have to fulfil continuing education requirements every few years in order to maintain our certification, but it’s not enough to become an expert in yoga.

If you have a specific concern or a complex issue relating to injuries or mental health it’s best to see a licensed professional.

Final Thoughts

Your yoga teacher is just like you. Try to avoid looking at them as if they are more “this or that” than you. We all have similar internal struggles and we’re all flawed.

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Nathalia is a classical musician, signed model, and bodybuilder-turned-international-yoga-teacher who has dedicated herself to mind-body wellness while maintaining a digital nomad lifestyle. Inquisitive by nature and obsessed with learning, she holds two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree. In 2007 she launched nathaliafit.com, a fitness & wellness lifestyle blog, as a voice to millennial women on topics relating to wellness, fitness, clean beauty, sustainable fashion, and healthy travel.

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