giveaway! teaching yoga by donna farhiIn the wake of public scandals and cases of questionable ethics from high-profile teachers, many people in the yoga community have been digging into the deeper and more challenging questions behind the teacher-student relationship. By all appearances, people have been floundering around trying to figure out what this means.… Read more


giveaway! teaching yoga by donna farhi

In the wake of public scandals and cases of questionable ethics from high-profile teachers, many people in the yoga community have been digging into the deeper and more challenging questions behind the teacher-student relationship. By all appearances, people have been floundering around trying to figure out what this means.

The thing is, somebody has already written the definitive guide to teaching yoga and the complex questions that come with it. Internationally recognized yoga teacher, Donna Farhi, published Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship (with IAYB sponsor, Rodmell Press) in 2006. The classic book quietly became a requisite for YTTs around the world.

IAYB is happy to give away three copies of this wonderful book and the wisdom it contains. To enter, all you have to do is answer the question: What does it mean to be a yoga teacher? (If you currently teach yoga, feel free to draw from your experience; if you don’t teach, feel free to philosophize).

Leave your response in the comment section below before 8pm EST Friday, April 4, 2014. Three (3) responses will be drawn at random and notified by email.

Please note that email addresses will be added to the IAYB and Rodmell Press mailing lists. If you’d prefer to not be added, simply write OPT OUT at the end of your comment.

Featured image: Donna Farhi in action at a YTT (via


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Ana Forrest is the latest luminary to share her wisdom & experience on Yoga U Online's Sadhana Sundays series. Sign up for the free talk on Sunday, March 30.
  1. A Yoga teacher is someone who shares and provides others the opportunity to practice yoga and experience the beauty and healing properties of yoga

  2. To be a yoga teacher means to be here now

  3. A good yoga teacher knows how to modify and adapt. A good yoga teacher knows how to watch, listen and breathe. Teaching to those in front of you and helping them with what they need. Sometimes what you planned and what the student needs, can be two very different agendas. It’s crucial for the teacher to follow the student’s needs… and not their ego.

  4. To be a yoga teacher means to be in touch with your own authenticity and, through this, to be able to impart the path of authenticity to your students.

  5. Yoga teachers have the responsibility to protect their students while at the same time encouraging them to challenge their limits. This isn’t easy. It means dealing with both fear and ego, and it requires a lot of knowledge as to how students tend to hurt themselves and how to teach them in such a way that they can avoid those injuries. Yoga teachers are not doctors or gurus–just teachers. But, that’s hard enough. (I feel that I have been, and am, extraordinarily lucky in my teachers, and I’m deeply grateful to them.) In the YTT that I attended we used Ms. Farhi’s book, Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness, and it was an excellent text.

  6. Being a yoga teacher means being able to safely and knowlegeably share my passion!

  7. For me being a Yoga teacher is an honour.
    I feel deeply about our connection with mind,body,soul and feel I have so much to share.
    I pick my classes very carefully.
    I honestly feel this is my unique gift and I teach to those that want to learn more about themselves.
    I am more a guide than a teacher as one must learn who they are from within themselves.
    If I can help one person learn something about themselves, I feel fulfilled.
    It is so much more than a physical practice although each asana has a purpose if done slow and mindfully.
    This is just the tip of the icicle
    We are all students.
    We are all teachers.

  8. …it means taking responsibility for what happens in your classroom! Did your students get a good workout? That’s nice. Did they injure themselves? Not always the teacher’s fault, but sometimes is! Were they challenged and did they learn something about yoga? Whatever happens, the teacher is the one who facilitates it.


  9. I decided to become a yoga instructor to deepen my own practice and to have more openness and ease in my life and share that experience with others. I am drawn to therapeutics and restorative yoga because of my own needs and the belief that we can manage chronic pain and stress without them taking over our lives. We all could use a little more rest and repose. It is a gift, a constant learning experience, a privilege a pleasure to create an environment, a safe space where people are willing to go on a journey with you, wherein the destination isn’t the point of it all – the practice itself, the journey, is what we are all there to explore. That is the point and there is no point. The paradox is demonstrative of the beauty of it all.


  10. Being a yoga teacher means sharing an immense lineage of traditions, health, love & inspiration. It means creating a safe and comfortable space for other yoga practitioners to explore themselves, to release, to observe without judgment and to essentially return ‘home’. Being a yoga teacher – to me – is a huge honor but it is not the end all be all. I think the best teachers are the ones who can let each person explore their own selves and who realizes that THEY are not the magic, but a conduit FOR magic ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Yoga, to me, is the ongoing practice and exploration of “finding home” in my own body, mind and spirit. So “teaching” yoga, for me, is the ever-evolving practice of encouraging others to find their own ways of “coming home to themselves” through mindfulness, awareness, compassion, knowledge and skill.

  12. Helping people find peace, find their mind, find their body.
    Helping them to become more whole and unified.
    Helping them to return to what they already had in the beginning, but have strayed from.
    Helping people realise that they can return to that place within themselves again.
    Helping them understand they have the power to return if that is the path they choose.

  13. Being a yoga teacher is to guide others to find their own inner teacher.

  14. To serve, with love. That’s what teaching yoga means to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Teaching yoga is about sharing your love of this practice with others.
    It is about helping others see their potential, while also helping them escape from the busyness of everyday life.
    Yoga teachers are friends, inspirations, helpers, educators, and motivators.

    I’m always sad to read/hear these negative stories, because the above list is how I want to be as a teacher because these are the types of teachers I’ve had in my practice.

    It’s all about the #Yogalove ๐Ÿ™‚

    (already receive IAYB, so OPT OUT from Rodmell Press)

  16. Being a yoga teacher is about spiritual growth, inside, between and all around both teacher and students. It’s more than sequencing, physical exertion and safely leading – that’s all asana,and are just part of our tools in teaching. Truly teaching yoga is about coming together with the students through asana, prana and meditation to cultivate passion, love, patience, courage and strength.

  17. being a yoga teacher is holding safe space for people to find themselves

  18. Being a yoga teacher means to dwell in G.R.A.C.E.
    G – Gratitude for what has been given me that I might serve others.
    R – Real and raw, authentic being from the marrow of one’s bone.
    A – Awareness of what is arising, what is here, what is dissolving.
    C – Centeredness and compassion.
    E โ€“ Energy, the cultivation of which is aligned movement in all the Koshas.

  19. Being a yoga teacher–or any movement teacher, or maybe even any teacher–means having something to offer or share–and it also means knowing when to let go. It means meeting people where they are. It means respecting that people are coming to you for a service–give that service to the best of your ability, and let them go. They will come back as they need you, and ironically as a teacher your students going out into the world is the goal. Let them go! In short-it means control and lack of control at once, full attention and respect.

  20. To teach from experience, with authenticity and with compassion for those beings directly in front of you.

  21. Teaching yoga means teaching love.

  22. Being a yogateacher is remembering your first class, your first feelings, your exploration into the world, your evolution.

  23. I don’t view it as teaching, but as leading. More like becoming a Yoga Guide–I’m helping someone to reach a goal by leading them there and trying to help them help themselves. Everything’s a journey. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. What does it mean to be a yoga teacher?

    It means you are willing to listen to a higher calling, to guide in untethering the effects of gravity and opening roadblocks in the energy body. It means you work at being a role model for harmony.