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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Balanced Instruction: How To Teach Yoga Students
By Faye Martins
Being a good yoga practitioner doesn't necessarily mean that you know how to teach yoga students. Teaching others is very different than performing stances and poses yourself. It takes some practice and guidance to be a good yoga teacher. There are some specific things you can do to learn how to be an excellent yoga instructor.
Choose Your Style
Develop your class based on your personal experience and background. Choose a style that you are an expert in. You should feel confident in your ability to thoroughly explain the key elements of the style. Advertise what styles you are teaching so your students will know what to expect. Think about how you can describe these styles to perspective students.
Be Prepared in Your Space
It doesn't matter if you are renting a studio or if you are teaching out of your home, there are some key elements your space should have. Make sure it is clean and professional. Students are going to want to feel comfortable and peaceful while practicing. Wipe down any shared equipment after each class, keep the floors free of dirt, and dispose of any trash. Mirrors can be very helpful to both the students and you as an instructor. Consider mounting mirrors in the studio so students can see themselves and correct their own forms. Mirrors also make it easier for you to scan the students from your place at the front of the group.
Keep any equipment organized and clean. Depending on your space, you may give students the option of leaving things in the studio. However, make sure these things are kept neat and organized. Your yoga studio is often an oasis for people seeking relaxation and stress relief. Keep this in mind when designing it.
Balance Correction and Praise
You will be working with a variety of people with all kinds of abilities. There might be seasoned students who have been training for years, but there may also be some very uncoordinated people who have very little balance and flexibility. Your job as an instructor is to keep everyone feeling engaged, challenged, and positive.
You will occasionally need to walk around and correct students. If possible, try to rely on non-verbal communication when correcting. This keeps the atmosphere calming and peaceful. Gently reposition students as needed. If you do need to verbally correct a student, do so in a respectful and encouraging way. Generally, for every correction you give you should also give praise. Find something they are doing well and compliment them on it.
Consider developing lesson plans for your classes. These do not need to be written in stone, in fact, you should be prepared to adjust them on the spot. However, having a solid lesson plan will help give your classes some consistency. Treat them as guides, providing you a list of goals and objectives for each class.
You also need to think about what kind of theme you want your classes to have. Some yoga studios are very modern and have more of a fitness and sport mentality. Others are more traditional and have an emphasis on meditation and breathing. The direction your classes go in will be entirely up to you.
Even if you have been practicing yoga for years, knowing how to teach yoga students is different. However, you can develop your teaching skills and pass on your knowledge to others.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.