By Yogi Aaron
I have been blessed with a successful yoga career. Some of my students have followed me–not only over a long period of time–but all over the world as well.
The success of a yoga teacher is dependent to some degree on the students they draw. So one of the first questions I had asked myself when I started teaching yoga was,
“What type of student do I want to teach?”
This question might shock some yoga teachers as there is the notion in the yoga world that, as yoga teachers, we should want to teach everyone and anyone.
But what I came to realize was that I did not want to teach just anyone. I wanted to teach students who could follow the same path as I am on.
The idea of who your students are is not only important as you develop your yoga career, but even more so as you develop the yoga retreat part of your business.
Yoga retreats can be very energizing, rewarding, and transformational if you have the right group of people traveling with you. But if you have a group of people joining you, half way around the world, that does not share your yogic values, your retreat will not have any of those qualities I listed above.
I have always had remarkable students because I have been consistently clear about the kinds of students I have wanted to attract.
The kind of students I want to attract to my retreats are:
- Teachable. They need to be willing to learning.
- Open-minded. They do not complain about anything.
- Intuitive. The first rule in any retreat that I lead is, “don’t explain, don’t complain.”
- Thoughtful. We practice morning silence. I am shocked at how many yoga teachers are terrified of asking their students to be silent in the morning. I tell teachers to step up and lead. Your students are waiting for it.
- Committed. I am fully committed to my students and so I expect them to be very committed to their practice.
On a yoga retreat recently at Blue Osa, group leader Jennifer Pastiloff gave her students a charge the first night of the retreat before dinner.
“Leave your shit behind. Put it into the fire.”
Never before had witnessed such direct leadership to a group of students before.
And I had never experienced such a deep level of transformation as I had witnessed by the end of that week.
I have witnessed yoga teachers who put themselves into the category of Julie the “Cruise Director”. They then finish their retreats feeling disappointed, energetically depleted, and absorbed into their student’s stories.
You as a yoga teacher have the opportunity to change lives and impact your students profoundly as a result of the work that they do during the retreat you lead.
Raise the bar of what you expect from your students. Raise the bar on the quality of student you would like to attract.
About Yogi Aaron
Yogi Aaron brings passion and a spirit of adventure to his teaching. Thus inspired, he guides students to secret, far-flung locales, which not only empowers them to realize their own limitless potential but also makes yoga relevant and accessible for the modern world. Since 2002 he has been traveling and leading retreats worldwide. He currently serves as the Yoga Director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica