What’s Missing in Yoga Teachers Today

By: Gaia Staff  |  July 31, 2013

It’s great that yoga teachers can memorize passages from the Bhagavad Gita, and “sthira sukham asanam” from the Yoga Sutras. These teachings can either become cute antidotes that are immediately forgotten after class, or if harvested for wisdom, become a catalyst for massive action in creating the lives students imagine for themselves.

A New Breed

The new breed of yoga instructor realizes that we have a moral obligation as yoga instructors to empower students not only through movement for an hour, but also in crafting themes that students can live and breath into every day. Our service and love for our students must carry far off the mat.** **

Archaic vs. Applicable Knowledge

Understanding history is very important, but focus too much on this, and we get lost in the minutiae of dates and facts that are little more than good trivia game answers.

We as human are egocentric. “How does this apply to me?” If it doesn’t, we discard it, because there is way too much stimulus in our environment not to. The stuff that makes the yoga come alive in the classroom, as well as after, is the ecstasy of students seeing the teaching readily apparent in their lives.

Make it about You

We as yoga teachers must wade through these intimidating waters, to share with students our self-growth, in hopes of motivating lasting change in our students. Don’t get me wrong, the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads is incredibly important. However, when not mined for the knowledge that is universally applied to today, it is useless. So as a teacher, if you don’t identify with the knowledge that ancient texts have for us, it doesn’t make you a bad yogi or teacher. It just means that you are more firmly rooted in taking the current state of the world, and moving forward towards a better future. Focus on your stage of growth, and ask questions around that.

Questions, Not Sermons

The most important part of all of this is that our class themes be centered around asking the right questions for students. We will never know the right answer for them. Instead of telling students the way the world works (as if we have any idea), focus on engaging them with the right questions to grow their consciousness.

Call to Action

Make you classes living, breathing art, that you gift your students in each moment of class, in hopes that it affects the way they walk about the earth after leaving.

Three Ways of applying this:

1. Talk about the macro experiences (universal principles) relevant in your life. It will affect students, because it is living and breathing in you.** **

2. Ask Questions: Self-inquiry is the most powerful tool we have as humans for growing our consciousness. Empower your students to use it.** **

**3. Massive action in the next 24 hours: **Give students five seconds after savasana, in meditation; to synthesize the theme, and set an intention for action, in which they can live the teaching in the next 24 hours. Students will love you for boosting their creative potential and ability to grow their consciousness.

On to you:

How can you change the classes that you teach? Or as a student, what one nugget of wisdom from class can you apply in the next 24 hours in your life?


Matt Cooke

Matt is a RYT-500 yoga instructor, success coach and author, impassioned to inspire action off the mat. Matt’s classes use the six movements of the spine, and journey-sequencing to bio-dynamically stimulate creativity in students.
After finishing university, Matt spent years tearing himself down, burning himself out and keeping himself small. But he discovered his coach Steve Chandler, self-transformational literature from Gaiam and en*theos. Steve and en*theos began to challenge him and gave him practical tools to create a life of commitment and personal power.
Over the course of two years, he gained his 500-hour yoga teacher training from Noah Maze in Los Angeles, and began coaching clients from all over the world towards optimal living, working out of with San Diego, CA with en*theos. The best part is that his yoga and optimal living clients have done the same; doubling their strength, flexibility, income and confidence. To upgrade your practice on and off the mat, check out his website and blog for more free resources at: www.creativewarriorliving.com.
Website: Creative Warrior Yoga
Facebook: Creative Warrior Yoga
LinkedIn: Matt Cooke
YouTube: Creative Warrior Yoga



Travel down a new road with Gaia, a member-supported conscious media company. Join our community of seekers, dreamers, and doers to empower your own evolution. Discover over 8,000+ ad-free, streaming videos to inspire and encourage curiosity. Everything is waiting for you; which path will you choose?

What does a conscious company do with $11.99 a month?

Provides an ad-free experience, no exceptions!
Pays the bills without selling your personal information.
Produces, edits, and shares thought-provoking original shows and videos.
Brings scholars, scientists, and even shamans into the studios.
Makes Gaia accessible on your favorite devices.
Keeps our community active and supports its growth.
STEP 1 of 3
Choose your plan
Prices in USD

Cost After First Payment

Cost After First Payment

Cancel Anytime

Cancel Anytime

Available on Laptop, Phone, Tablet, and TV

Available on Laptop, Phone, Tablet, and TV

Unlimited Ad-Free Streaming

Unlimited Ad-Free Streaming

Live Event Streaming*

Live Event Streaming*

*Livestream includes access to over 50 different speakers during the 2019 Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles, California