For yoga teachers, a mentor is someone you can turn to for advice and guidance when faced with a professional challenge or difficulty.
While a yoga teacher training course can prepare you to teach a sequence and hold your own in front of 15 students, it may not help you to process a difficult class situation, or find the answer to a question that suddenly dawns on you mid-vinyasa. More often than not, when it comes to teacher training - when it’s done, it’s done.
This is where a mentor comes in.
Depending on the relationship between student and teacher, a mentor may provide coaching, motivation, inspiration, emotional support, professional advice and friendship. A mentor can help by providing feedback on your teaching development, connect you with others in the yoga industry, set goals for your teaching and identify resources that will aid your professional growth.
In this way, mentorship supports newly qualified yoga teachers to navigate teaching yoga as a career.
What should you look for in a yoga mentor?
Experience First things first, look into the teaching and training experience of your prospective mentor. How long have they been teaching? What qualifications do they have - and, are these qualifications relevant to what you need? Which studios have they taught in? Do they run training programs?
A good yoga mentor should be able to apply their skills, personal experience and industry knowledge to support you in your teaching. This comes with at least a few years working in the field, and a clear commitment to professional development.
Compatibility Do you get on with your mentor on and off the mat? A good working relationship is crucial for effective mentoring. You should be able to be open and honest with your mentor, and in turn, your mentor must feel comfortable sharing feedback or constructive criticism about your teaching.
Before you approach a more experienced teacher about mentoring, check out their social media, attend their yoga classes, speak to them after classes to make sure you are a good match.
Teaching style and specialism If you are looking to specialise in a particular area, it is best to find a mentor with expertise in that field. Yes, it may well mean another bout of Google searches and teacher research, but then again, nothing worth having comes easy. And trust me, the right (and relevant) expertise, contacts and personal experience are well worth it.
An effective yoga mentor is someone whose teaching you admire and respect, someone you can learn from and who inspires you to better yourself.