Mentoring through Yoga Australia

Lifelong Mentoring

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  1. What is mentoring and why do we need it
  2. Towards a continuum of life-long mentoring

What is mentoring and Why Do We Need it?

“Mentoring” is a modern word that describes an integral part of the tradition of yoga throughout history. It includes the guidance given between teacher and trainee or student, as well as the ongoing professional and personal guidance necessary for all yoga teachers, at all levels of seniority and experience, as part of the continuing journey of yoga.

Formal and informal mentoring were an integral part of yoga teacher training, ongoing teacher education and support in traditions that relied on ‘apprenticeships’ with one-one relationships or in communities or ashrams. Now that teacher training occurs more in courses and teachers are increasingly teaching in isolation or in small studio-groups we need to expand the fabric from which teachers can draw support and seek advice. Not all teacher training courses create networks for guidance, reflection, and ongoing learning. Professional development opportunities, meetings, conferences, and workshops through Yoga Australia and other avenues, go some way to meeting the needs but there are times in our life-cycle as a yoga teacher that we need more specific support to develop, refine and reflect on our teaching and the issues it brings us.

Yoga Australia has adopted and recently reviewed the terms mentoring, mentor and mentee.

Lines between mentoring and teaching on one hand, and, on the other, between mentoring and supervision are not always clear.  In both comparisons mentoring is a more open and flexible process, driven as much, or more, by the mentee than external, prescribed curriculum, other requirements or the mentor’s agenda. A mentor can be our guide as we find our path through teacher training, various levels of teaching experience, post-graduate learning and personal and professional development. We have adopted the term mentee to refer to the person who is being mentored.  Where there is a need for mentoring to meet external requirements, for example when provisional members seek mentoring to assist them in the process of upgrading, we will use the term curriculum-based mentoring’.

Yoga Australia is committed to supporting its members in seeking mentoring for several reasons –

  1. For the development and growth of competent and well-rounded yoga teachers, for newly graduated teachers and teachers at any stage of their life-cycle.
  2. For continued development and expansion of professional skills.
  3. To offer encouragement and inspiration for the continued growth of wisdom that comes from self-inquiry and reflection, so the quality of our inward life is transmitted through all of our relationships, as teachers and human beings.
  4. To promote the importance of regular practice, balance, and self-care.
  5. To offer a ‘creative field’ for ideas related to yoga teaching, and to assist with problem-solving as required.
  6. To promote community amongst yoga teachers and to support the evolvement of yoga in our society.
  7. To ensure that both mentoring and being a mentee are lifelong practices.

Towards a Continuum of life-long mentoring opportunities

Yoga Australia supports a range of mentoring opportunities from informal to formal.  This can be one to one, group, occasional or ongoing. Mentoring can be skills/curriculum-based or support inner reflection and spiritual growth and all shades in between.

 Informal mentoring

Many teachers draw support, advice, wisdom, cause for reflection and inspiration from each other in casual chats at the studio door, meetings, professional development workshops, and conferences.  Face to face contact on a regular basis brings ongoing opportunities and yet some forms of informal mentoring are more random, often found in surprising places.

Yoga Australia offers regular state events, workshops, and conferences that allow informal opportunities between all teachers, regardless of experience and level of seniority. The growing pool of senior teachers registering as mentors with Yoga Australia can offer presentations and workshops in their local area/state on the value of mentoring and related skills. The aim is to encourage the culture of reflection/mentoring at teachers’ gatherings and a growing interest in seeking formal mentoring.    

 Formal mentoring

One-one arrangements with a more teacher or other professional (eg psychologist, social worker, physiotherapist) who has relevant specialisations/experience can be an effective way of dealing with specific professional and related personal development.

Yoga Australia has created a register of yoga teachers who offer mentoring to members in order to refine and reflect on our teaching and the issues it brings us and also to meet professional development requirements and curriculum requirements for upgrading membership.   

Find out more about curriculum-based mentoring

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