Female Yoga Teachers’ Motivators for Teaching and Engaging in Yoga

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Tung, Angela Hsin

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University of Guelph


This qualitative study examined female yoga teachers’ autonomy, competence, and relatedness, and their motivational factors for teaching and engaging in yoga. Interviews guided by two Self-Determination Theory mini-theories, Organismic Integration Theory and Basic Psychological Needs Theory, were conducted with 20 female Canadian yoga teachers. Thematic analysis was used to examine their lived experiences. Participants emphasized freedom to teach authentically, confidence in themselves, feedback from students, and connecting with students as ways that teaching yoga lead to their need-fulfilment. Giving students choice, providing meaningful encouragement, challenging students, and collaborating with students were described as need-supportive techniques. Motivations for yoga engagement included fitness, social benefits, mental health, maintaining health, feeling of community, sense of identity, love, and curiosity. Motivations for yoga teaching included encouragement from others, financial reasons, idealization of the profession, sharing the benefits of yoga, building human connections, inspiration from other yoga teachers, integration of yoga teaching into their lifestyles, sense of purpose, and enjoyment of teaching yoga.



self-determination theory, yoga, physical activity, basic psychological needs theory, autonomy, competence, relatedness, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, organismic integration theory