Saturday, March 18, 2017

Yoga Instructors and Student Types - Part II

student types
By Kathryn Boland

In a prior article, I shared some views of my fellow yoga instructors about what types of students they find difficult to teach. I also asked what strategies they use to overcome those challenges, and thus best guide those students in practice. My goal with this was to open up dialogue that can help us instructors learn from each other about how we can move past personal difficulties as teachers to best serve the students who come to us. 

No matter who they are, or how they challenge us, our task is to be the strongest channels of the ancient and wise practice that is yoga. On the other side of the token, there are other students who remind us why we so love the work of yoga instruction. They’re open to trying to new things, insightful, curious, mindful, and playful. To discuss how the pleasant experiences we enjoy with these students might benefit our teaching in general, and perhaps for a bit of joyful levity, I asked those same fellow instructors the following. They responded as follows. 

KB: Not to play favorites, what types of students do you most enjoy having in class? Is there in anything in how you interact with them that's beneficial for your teaching in general? 

Tara Jackson: Hmm...I enjoy students who can allow themselves to be present on their mats in their own bodies. I understand how yoga can be scary and intimidating to the new and beginner, but it's such a joy when students are really able to let themselves drop into the moment - as opposed to letting their anxiety take hold. With these students, I can notice how my words land when I describe the next set of actions as they flow. I always try to deliver clean and clear cues to [my] students, and with this group I can really observe the aftermath of the delivery.

Johnathon Holmes: My favorite types of students are the ones who approach their practice in a playful way. I love the practice, and although it has its serious moments, there is plenty of room for laughter and fun. I’m so happy to watch students make progress in asana, but I’m even happier when they smile and laugh along the way. Watching these students practice reminds me to always approach my teaching from the same mindset.

Tiffany O’Connell: I love the students who are curious and ask questions, during or after class. I especially appreciate when they come up to me afterwards and express that they really enjoyed the sequence, or that what my message/intention was for the class was just what they needed to hear. It contributes to my purpose of making yoga for them more than just asana on the mat. It makes me feel validated in the work I do, and ultimately feel more connected to them - which isn't that the point?!

Jessica Pate: I love having students that respond! A little bit of a joke, but I have noticed (both as a teacher and a student)  that students are afraid to answer questions in class. I love when a class becomes interactive and some dialogue can open up. While we obviously don't want to be chatting the entire class, I think that taking time to pause when exploring some specific action or sensation in the body can be incredibly useful. We all are built differently, with unique bone structure, musculature and connective tissue stories. As a teacher, this dialogue gives me insight into how to better guide my students. However, on a larger scale, taking this time to share different experiences can help both the teacher and student begin to appreciate the beauty that lies in everyone's own unique experience, both on and off the mat.

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1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

Thank you Kathryn Boland for this nice discussion articles and thanks to yoga teachers for sharing their great experience.