Do successful Yoga teachers produce more successful teachers? The short answer is, “Yes, they do.” Tirumalai Krishnamacharya produced many good Yoga teachers, but how many of us could match his accomplishments? Among his many Yoga students are four Master Yoga teachers: Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and T.K.V. Desikachar.
Therefore, most of the Hatha Yoga sub-styles of today have been affected by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. His legacy has cast a long shadow, and his accomplishments may never be matched. To some, this is success and to others, success is simply helping people with health and well being.
While others, might consider Bikram Choudhury, to be the most successful Yoga teacher of our time. It is said that his style produces, in the neighborhood of, 900 Yoga teachers per year. Not bad, considering he had a serious knee injury as a teen and made quite a come back. He aggressively markets his style of Yoga, has patented his asana sequence, has been in the American “lime light,” and lives a very wealthy life.
So, this is a very different form of success. In his own right, Bikram Choudhury is one of the most successful Yoga teachers of this time, and he has produced many more successful Yoga teachers. Success means many things to many people, and we each have a different viewpoint of the meaning of success. Success can be easily classified into physical, mental, spiritual, and material categories.
What about Yoga teachers who demonstrate technical prowess? Yes, a Yoga teacher who understands alignment should be successful. Unfortunately, perfect alignment is not abundant. The human body has many imperfections, and this can be a struggle if a Yoga teacher becomes a perfectionist.
This can sometimes affect the ego of a Yoga teacher for the worst. The teaching style should still be compassionate – when assisting or demonstrating Yoga techniques. When an instructor of Yoga becomes arrogant and self-absorbed, he or she will start to lose students, among many other things.
Is success measured by how many Yoga students you have? To put it simply: “No.” Many successful Yoga teachers have small schools, but their agenda is not materially based. They enjoy helping others and improving the lives of their Yoga students. This is definitely success and gratification.
However, if you want to earn a living – have financial obligations, or just want to be comfortable, your life will be much easier, when you have more Yoga students.
© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He’s a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who want to be a teacher.