What makes an Exceptional Yoga Teacher

What makes an Exceptional Yoga Teacher

Want to become an Exceptional Yoga Teacher?

5 Qualities of the World’s Top Yoga Teachers

Ready to start teaching?

Or, are you ready to refine how you already share?

First, Think about your life and the favourite teachers that you’ve had.  

What are the attributes that set these teacher apart for you?


From the moment I fell in love with yoga, I started a journey of traveling and study with a vast range of teachers and styles to try and deepen my own practice of course, and also to see what works and what doesn’t, what resonates with people and what makes an exceptional teacher.

Having great teachers is so necessary for our development as students and as teachers alike.  When I meet a teacher whose style I truly resonate with, someone who knows their stuff, and cares about my progress, it sparks a remembrance in me of who I really am.  It inspires me – it literally fills me with spirit –  and the lessons and feelings that I glean from these people, I carry forward into my life and beyond.

There are many qualities that set exceptional teachers apart, and

Here’s just a few of the key qualities I’ve discovered:



1. Depth – The Practice goes beyond Asana:


Contrary to popular belief,  an exceptional yoga teacher may not necessarily be the most advanced Yoga asana practitioner.


While asanas are awesome for challenging the bodymind with the discipline of practice, and for releasing stuck energy in the body so that we’re more open and flexible, being able to do a fancy arm balance or an impressive advanced pose is in and of itself not an indicator of someone who is an avid yogi or someone who has unlocked the key to peace and love.


What’s inspiring for me in a Yoga teacher, so far beyond any spiritual costumery on the outside, is seeing how they LIVE Yoga Philosophy on the inside.  Seeing how they incorporate the ethics and disciplines (yamas and niyamas) of Yoga in to their everyday lives, helps remind me that to be human is to be on a journey, and one that is full of sufferings as well as breakthroughs.


Humility, Willingness to practice, to learn from every experience, and to try and live from LOVE vs FEAR is one of the aspects that really endears me to a great teacher.



2. Passion, Lifelong learning & deep knowledge


In my heart, the best Yoga teachers have an absolutely insatiable passion for the path of Yoga and it’s practices.


The teachers who inspire me the most, truly walk the walk of Yoga and only teach what they have first learned and considered within themselves.


Their commitment to ongoing learning and exploration to their own yoga practice is what allows their teaching to be authentic, relatable, and engaging.



3. Creating & Holding Safe & Supportive Space


An exceptional Yoga teacher knows how to create a safe and sacred space in which her students feel welcome, invited, comfortable, resepcted and able to  completely relax into the moment, let go, come into their bodies, become present and breathe.


An exceptional Yoga teacher has high expectations of her students and lovingly encourages everyone to do their best.  She helps her students see that every moment has the potential to teach us something about ourselves.



4. Excellent communication


Being able to effectively and clearly communicate is another quality of exceptionally teacher.


There’s a big difference between being passionate about yoga, and sharing that passion in a way that is in service to our students.


Being able to clearly articulate alignment cues, breath and intention reminders, weave relevant stories, anecdotes, and examples into the narrative flow of a class is key to helping people feel connected and cohesive.


When communication is crystal clear, students can focus on their own practice, looking within without too much distraction, or trying to figure out what other people n the class are doing.


I find it most powerful and effective, when a teacher speaks in simple accessible and positive language, effectively uses praise, individuals names, and avoids using negative trigger words such as don’t never etc.


When people feel positive and connected, they are more likely to take the goodness of the practice forward with them off the mat and into life.



5. Pleasant Personality & Emotional intelligence


An exceptional teachers meets their students where they’re at, and guides them with warmth, love, and compassion.


Our roles as Yoga teachers are fluid: Sometimes we need to support our students through emotional moments, sometimes we need to offer them deepening intellectual experiences, and sometimes we need to challenge our students on a physical level.


Being able to tune into the mind of the room, and working out what students need most, both individually and collectively in the moment, is an important skill for an exceptional teacher.

In conclusion,

A great Yoga teacher not only talks the talks, but also walks the walk.

They have passion for the depths of Yoga and its practices,

is a lifelong learner, has an engaging personality and ability to hold space,

and has an effective teaching and communication style,

leading classes that help students to

feel better at the end of the class then at the beginning.



Now I wanna hear from you: What are some of the qualities of the greatest Yoga teachers you’ve practiced with and Why?

And if you’re ready to take the leap, we’d love YOU to join us for our Upcoming Yoga Teacher Training! 🙂


Join our Yoga Teacher Training List to get exclusive resources for teachers

and info on our upcoming teacher trainings and continuing education experiences!

Francie is a multi-passionate and free-spirited Yogi, hula hooper, musician and lover of all things Magic. She has led over a hundred retreats over the past 6 years, and is the inspired founder of Pure Flow Yoga & True:Nature Experience in Koh Phangan, Thailand where she spends half of the year offerings daily Yoga classes, workshops and ongoing transformational Yoga Retreats in Paradise. Check out some of Francie’s Music on Bandcamp and like her Facebook page: Francie Fishman :Yoga Hoop Music Love  to stay tuned in about Francie’s personal travel & teaching calendar, music, playlists, blog posts and more.  Want to invite Francie to teach near you? Contact here

Francie Fishman

Founder, Pure Flow Yoga

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below: 

What are some other qualities Yoga teachers that stand out in your life?

Tips for Living a more Sattvic life

Tips for Living a more Sattvic life

The Gunas

10 Tips for Living a more Sattvic Life

Living in Balance: The Gunas



Finding and maintaining Balance is key to Yoga.


There are many reasons people come to Yoga: Some people come to Yoga to build more strength, some people come for more flexibility and some for more balance clarity and calmness.  We are ever-fluctuating beings, and Yoga is a kind of adaptogen that has the capacity to really meet us where we are at in any given moment to give us what we need.

In Yoga philosophy, all matter arises from the fundamental substance of the universe, called Prakriti. From Prakriti come the three primary gunas (qualities) that create the essential aspects of all nature—energy, matter and consciousness.


These three gunas are tamas (darkness), rajas (activity), and sattva (beingness).


All three gunas are always present in all beings, fluctuating and varying in their relative amounts, and the balance of the three Guna’s is vital for our health and our happiness.

We want to be tamasically grounded to the earth so that we can rest and sleep and connect, rajasically passionate and fired-up about our work and what we do, and sattvically calm and at peace to realise our goal of freedom, of our true nature.

Humans have the unique opportunity to consciously alter the levels of the gunas in our bodies and minds, through our interaction with external objects, lifestyle and thought patterns.

Essentially, through our practice of Yoga, and finding more balance, we want to cultivate as much Sattva, as possible.

Our basic nature is Sattva  – clear, calm, creative, positive, creative force,  with just enough Rajas – dynamic force and Tamas – negative force,  to make things happen.


Sattva – Light & Purity, Equilibrium, knowledge, (associated with creation)

is a state of balance and harmony, peace, tranquility, sattva is the naturally arising state originating from being true to your inner teacher, guru, god. By purifying body, senses, and mind, the yogi can experience natural self.


Rajas – Activity, Passion, Action (associated with preservation)

When we identify ourselves with actions, with the roles we play in life, with praise received from others, we are in a rajasic state when the mind is identified with the concepts of karma, that which we sow and what which we reap.


Tamas – Darkness, Inertia, Lethargy, Ignorance (associated with destruction)

Darkness, ignorance, lazy nature of the mind or body, a force that tells us to take a break and relax when we are near to completing a project whose deadline is approaching – as a result we do not finish the race.



10 Tips for living a more Sattvic Lifestyle:

To experience being established in health and in oneself, we need to follow a sattvic lifestyle with a deep connection to our lifestyle, diet, physical & mental exercise.


1. Eat foods that are organic, fresh, in season, vegetarian, locally produced

According to Yogic philosophy, the mind is formed of the essence of food. If food eaten is pure then it brings inner peace to the body in and encourages spiritual progress.


2. Live in harmony with the rhythms of the day and seasons.

Regulate your daily events, eating at similar times each day and sleeping at regular times to ensure that you have enough sleep 6 – 8 hours usually. “There is no possibility of one to become a yogi… if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough” – Bhagavad Gita


3. Meditate/ pray as first and last events of the day

Even spending  just a few moments to center yourself each day can have a profound effect on your overall state. 

Click here to try some of our free guided meditations here.


4. Sleep early, Wake and Rise before the sun to 

Capture the high vibrational prana, or life-force energy, that is present just before and after the sun rises, also known as the brahma muhurta. Delight in the glorious display of colours and vibrations that are present at this magical sunrise time of day, when the veils between dark and light are said to be at their most thin.


5. Develop Sattvic states of mind.

Peace, calm, positivity, presence, clarity, enthusiasm, joy, happiness, honesty, humility, flexibility, moderation, balance, gratitude, inner silence – these are the sattvic states to cultivate through our practice.   Yoga, meditation, journalling, being in nature – these are some examples of activities that can help cultivate these states. 

Click here to Join us for a Yoga retreat in magical paradise to get you started on your journey!


6. Engage in conscientious hard work that contributes good and service in the world.

Engaging in work that is in alignment with your heart and with the good of others and the planet helps to in turn nourish you with more of the aforementioned sattvic states.  If you engage in work or daily habits or behaviours that leave you feeling anxious, dread, doom or gloom in anyway, this is an indication that change may be necessary.  If you need help getting clarity, taking a step away from your everyday life, and joining a Yoga retreat in paradise, can help offer you some much needed support, instruction and perspective. 


7. Always tell the truth and avoid hurting anyone’s heart


“The truth will set you free” – famous quote from the bible that gives such excellent life instruction.  There is clarity, and lightness in speaking truth and in speaking love.  Gossiping, neglecting to be honest or leaving out truths, and telling non-truths even in the spirit of avoiding hurting someone’s heart, always has the tendency to rear it’s ugly head at some point, and often does more harm to the communicator than anyone else. 


8. Study spiritual text and educational, inspirational and uplifting words


Malcom Gladwell in his book “Outlier’s” has famously shared his theory that to become expert in anything we need to spend 10,000 hours in dedicated practice or study.  Similarly, if you want to live with Sattva as your baseline state of being, it is important that you input as much of all of the above points in to your life as often as possible.  Books, podcasts, videos from great masters are all great ways to immerse your self in in positivity, clarity and insight. 

Click here to check out our awesome book recommendations for you here. 


9. Listen deeply when spoken to and offer compassionate words


Presence is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves and others.  When you are with someone, offer them your full presence. 


10.  Live mindfully and in the present moment

Be awake to the emotions, feelings and mental and physical states that are present to you this NOW.  Each moment can be our teacher if we allow it to be.  There is so much information in each moment that can help us know ourselves more, and cultivate more calm, presence and sattva.



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