18 Secrets Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew
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.
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.
How did you like 18 Secrets Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew?
Leave a comment if you found this post insightful!
I love it! Keep writing and keep doing Yoga! Best of luck!
Glad you like it!
This was truly informative, although surprising to know some of the things. I thought all yoga teachers could actually do all the poses so that came as a surprise. No body is watching your feet…..That was funny
Happy you found it insightful 🙂
Thanks for this. I totally didn’t know what to expect when I went to yoga for the first time 😄
Happy you found it helpful!
This is really surprising but I don’t know why lol. I do kinda look upon them as on another level. It’s good to hear they’re only human 😊
Even as a yoga teacher, I can sometimes look at other teachers as “more” than myself. Somehow the world will quickly remind me otherwise.
Cheryl M Scoledge
What a warm and inviting post! Thank you so much for sharing these insights!
You’re so welcome!
I sometimes get self conscious when I do yoga because I’m not good at it— don’t know all the positions and I’m not very flexible (at all) :(. I am one of those people who look at my instructors in awe, like they’re SO good! Your post is a great reminder and definitely makes me feel less self conscious about my ability!
No one knows all of the poses 🙂 Your yoga teacher probably chooses poses they feel confident executing which is why they may seem so good at it. It’s like a highlight reel. I always like to incorporate some time in class for the students to get into a pose of their choice that they dislike doing. It really levels the playing field in the studio and brings some humility into the classroom environment.
Great post, thanks!
Glad you like it <3
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am on my way to becoming a yoga teacher, and I think one thing I’m most nervous about is not knowing every pose or messing up. Thank you for being real and honest.
No matter how much you try you will never know all of the poses. In your YTT there are a handful of poses that will be covered, but it really only scratches the surface. That’s really the fun part — as a yoga teacher you can keep learning.
Lidia Y De La Cruz
What an insightful post. I’ll make sure to apply all this information when yoga studios re-open back up in my state.
So happy you found it helpful!
This was so interesting to read because I have never seen another blog post like this! I love yoga and need to implement it more into my fitness routine again. I loved how you said that yoga is not a competition. I feel like so many aspects of fitness, almost all, are part of a competition in everyone’s head. I have always felt so comfortable and at peace at a yoga class because I realize that each person is implementing their own practice. Thanks for sharing!
That is spot on! I can get caught up in a competitive mindset, but honestly, it can be quite toxic. Stepping out of the mindset in yoga is so yummy. It really is just about you, your mat, and the moment.
I love this! I did my yoga trainer training 200 hrs last year on a whim and it was the best thing i ever did in my life! There were some people there like me, who wanted the experience of it and we may go on to teach a class eventually and do 300 hrs or more at some point … but the bottom line was all the above. Nobody is perfect. Yoga is lifestyle. Not a competition. Thank you for putting this together in such a funny and informative way.
So happy to see a few RYTs here! My YTT was also pretty amazing. I’ve been playing with the idea of completing a 300hr.
Fun list! “Bodily functions happen” made me laugh. Have to say, I’ve inadvertently stared at people’s toes a few times when you are stomach down in a cramped class.
🙂 In some poses it’s sort of hard not to stare at people’s feet. But it certainly shouldn’t be gawking, ogling, or creepy.
this is such a great and informative post!
somethings are self explanetory and others are good to know.
thanks for sharing!
One of the things that always kept me from participating attending a yoga class when I was younger was the stigma I associated with it, imagining such a fully formed community of extremely spiritual, and extremely flexible and mobile people. I now realise that’s completely ridiculous and its great to have affirmation from a devoted yogi! Thanks for the Post!
You’re so welcome! It may have been like that before the wellness boom, but it really is a practice for everyone. I LOVE seeing diversity in my classroom. When I’m looking for studios to teach at I always prefer studios that draw a diverse crowd.
This is very insightful! I didn’t even think to consider some of these things.
Glad you found it insightful 🙂
Great post! I feel like every yoga studio should have this posted for new members!
That would be so great!
Another excellent post straight from the heart. Our family practices and we have members who also teach yoga. I will definitely pass this article on to them to share. I have Pinned for users as well. Great job! 🙂
Happy you’re sharing it with others. I hope they find it helpful 😀