With yoga growing in popularity, more and more people are becoming yoga teachers. Perhaps you’re thinking of taking yoga teacher training, but you’re not sure if you have what it takes. The top qualities of a yoga teacher might surprise you.

After teaching yoga and training teachers for almost two decades, I’ve seen–and heard–a lot of feedback regarding the positive qualities of a yoga teacher.

So I compiled the years of feedback into a top ten list.

No. 1 Quality

The number one quality the majority of participants look for in a yoga teacher is NO EGO. The teacher shows up with an attitude of service and humility. The teacher isn’t using the class time to show off his or her abilities.

2. Relatable

Imperfect teachers model to their classes that the participants can be imperfect too. Be able to laugh at yourself, show your humanness and vulnerability and you’ll create a non-intimidating presence.

3. Welcoming

Teachers who are encouraging and supportive create more of a positive environment for their participants to practice in, and also lessens the intimidation factor.

4. Authentic

Such a buzz word, but participants want teachers who can be themselves and let their personalities shine through. No need to downplay or pretend to be something you’re not.

5. Create an Experience

Put time and effort into the sequencing, yes, but more importantly, make yoga class an experience. Participants will remember how they felt long after the posture-portion ends.

6. Safety First

It’s important for yoga teachers to be able to safely guide participants in and out of postures. To understand alignment and know when to apply it.

7. Voice

No more Stepford-Yoga voices. Refer to #4 with regards to authenticity. And HOW you say something is just as important as the words you use.

8. Approachable

How does a yoga teacher make herself approachable? By being friendly and sincere.

9. Be Present

Part of our jobs as yoga teachers is to teach our participants how to be in the present moment. For us to do that it’s important for us to practice what we teach. We have to learn how to leave the fights with our spouses at home and be there for the class we’re teaching.

10. Be a student

The best teachers are students too. It’s been my experience that most yoga teachers have a fire in their belly to expand and deepen their knowledge. Plus, yoga is a life-long journey.

Did any of the top 10 qualities of a yoga teacher surprise you? Share in the comments what YOU look for in a good yoga teacher.

You might also be interested in: 5 Yoga Teacher Fails