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6 Lessons I've Learned as a Yoga Teacher

Updated: Apr 10

Woman in pink dress in field of pink tulips with the words "6 Lessons I've learned as a yoga teacher"

Six years ago today, I taught my first yoga class.

I can close my eyes and picture the room exactly as it was. I can see my yoga sisters clearly on their mats. And I can feel the thick air of a warm sunny afternoon in the Florida Keys.

I am such a different person and a completely different teacher.

I remember being nervous. I was concerned about my sequencing. I questioned whether I could command the attention of the room. And I was worried about physically teaching the class because I sprained my ankle the previous day.

I remember a few more things about my first class:

  • I focused a lot on chair pose.

  • As I taught my class, it felt like something was channeling through me.

  • I will never forget what it felt like to be in the middle of this hug. (Photo below.)

As I celebrate this meaningful day, I can’t help but reflect on what I’ve learned over the last six years as a yoga teacher. I mindfully created a list of the top 6 lessons I've learned during the last six years.

Lesson #1 - Practicing asana is the bare minimum

The deeper I’ve explored other aspects of yoga the more I found myself retreating from my practice being dominated by physical movement. I became less focused on physical practice and more engaged with meditating, contemplating, and consciously breathing and living my life. Yoga is an ethical, inclusive, expansive, and loving way of experiencing the world. If all you are doing is attending a studio class here and there, you are missing the point.

Lesson #2 - Yoga is a journey to authenticity

I am not the same person I was when I first started practicing yoga and I am almost unrecognizable to myself from the person I was when I first became a teacher. Every time I step on my mat or sit in meditation or chant a mantra it is as if the practice is brand new and that I am practicing for the first time. This mindset shift has allowed me to explore and reinvent myself in ways I probably wouldn't be able to without my practice. I have grown and expanded in ways that I honestly never knew possible but yet feel so at home.

"Yoga is the journey of the self through the self to the self." – Bhagavad Gita

Lesson #3 - Healing is messy and painful

One of the most common statements I've heard from people when I share that I am a yoga teacher is, "Wow, you must be so calm and happy." I always laugh because it's obvious this person doesn't get it. Physically releasing trauma is painful. Learning how to provoke and navigate mindset shifts is disorientating. When I answered the call to be a yoga teacher I knew I was heading for a life of embodiment. And that means I have the same energy and devotion to my healing as I do for my students.

Lesson #4 - It is impossible to ever know it all

It is often said that when you start practicing yoga you are a beginner for ten years. I stepped on my mat for the first time 22 years ago but I still felt completely under-prepared when I became a teacher. The tradition of yoga dates back thousands of years and many teachings are still passed along orally. While I've completed over 650 hours of training and taught over 2,000, one of the most exciting things about being a yoga teacher is that I've only just begun.

Lesson #5 - Yoga is a system for healing

I think this is one of the most exciting times to be a yoga teacher. We are experiencing the intersection of thousands of years of knowledge and modern science of the body and mind. For millennia, yoga teachers and practitioners have known how to use yoga to heal and improve their life. I'm so grateful that I have been able to study at this intersection and learn the physiological and scientific reason certain practices heal certain alignments. Not all yoga practices are healing. Not all studios and teachers are safe.

Lesson #6 - I am connected to something bigger

Throughout my yoga journey and continuing education, I have met people who, without saying a word, understand parts of my soul that most never will. I am lucky enough to call these wonderful humans my friends, colleagues, and collaborators. They have taught me and supported me in ways they may never even realize. I know that no matter where I am, I can close my eyes and focus on my breath and I am connected to them.

Strive not to be a success, but to be of value

I know it would be impossible to create a digestible list of everything I've learned over the last six years. It would be even more impossible to find the words for experiences of the soul for which no words exist. But I can confidently say that with all the healing and everything I've learned, I do try to relay as much as I can to my students. Some lessons are unique to me while some are wildly universal.

Some powerful experiences are coming soon from Sole Journey Yoga. Use the sidebar to reserve your copy of my new guide, "Get to Know Your Imposter Syndrome."


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I'm Dani

I blend the transformative power of therapeutic yoga and career coaching to guide your toward holistic well-being and professional fulfillment. 

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