Teaching is indeed an art. It requires full attention and presence, it requires confidence in yourself and creativity. As a beginning teacher we do recommend anyone to prepare your class properly. Good preparation gives a solid foundation to rely upon. With proper prepartion you can teach confidently and let things happen spontaneously.

Authenticity

In ancient times Yoga was transferred from a master to his/her pupil. Much of what the teacher (guru) imparts to the disciple falls under the category of spiritual transmission. The guru literally empowers the student through a transference of ‘energy’ or ‘consciousness’, much like the ‘Holy Spirit’ in a Christian Baptism

 

Through the teachers grace the deserving disciple would be initiated in the great alternative of existence, the reality of the Spirit. So it was important that the teacher is a fully realised master

 

Nowadays Yoga in the west became popular through asana practice

We are here to learn how to teach hatha yoga (asana, pranayam, mudra, bandha, kriya), so but most of all we remain students (with our own personal teacher/guru)

 

Gu = shadows

Ru = he who disperses them

 

 

“The syllable gu means shadows

The syllable ru, he who disperses them,

Because of the power to disperse darkness the guru is thus named

 

– Advayataraka Upanishad 14-18 verse 5”

 

 

Conclusion: so although we teach we remain students! BE AUTHENTIC

Nevertheless people come to your classes to learn something and regard you as a teacher

Why do people come to a class? Because of you, because of your unique message/style

There’s many teachers out there and you need to find your unique teaching style/be authentic

Preparation

Teaching yoga requires you as a teacher first of all to be present and available. Put aside your own ego and your insecurities as they will only draw your attention away from your students. It is recommendable to always arrive 10-15 minutes early at a class so you can prepare the space, set up the music, decide how you like the mats to be places and talk to students. Especially take time to talking to new students and inquire whether they have practiced yoga and/or meditation before. If they have any injuries, if yes: what kind, how long time ago, how does it limit them, etc. Ask women if they are pregnant or if they are menstruating. In this time you can give students individual recommendations and instructions.

In order to prepare your class keep the following in mind:

  • – Time of the day
  • – Type of venue (gym, yoga studio, park, office, etc.)
  • – Duration of the class
  • – Students (experience, age, gender, mind set)
  • – Expectation of the students

Tools of Teaching

There are so-called four ‘Tools of Teaching’:

  1. Instructions

As a yoga teacher verbal instructions is the most obvious way of guiding your students throughout the class. An asana class requires a lot of verbal instructions and depending on your style more details (e.g. Iyengar style or therapeutical). Here are some general tips regarding instructing:

– Voice: loud but soft and melodious

– Articulate properly

– Talk slowly

– Use different intonations

– Watch students while you explain

– Be aware of instructing while you are demonstrating

– Use short sentences

– Give suggestions for inhalations and exhalations, especially for Vinyasa Flow classes

– Don’t confuse yourself and the class while using the English and Sanskrit asana names: use them if you know them only

 

– Integrate indications, benefits, contra-indications

– Don’t give too much pointers in each pose

– If you talk about alignment in the asana: start from the feet and work your way up

– Give instructions to one person, or maybe to the group as a whole

– Choose your focus (depending on the focus of the class): alignment, flow, awareness, or…

– Suggestions for beginners: 1. give options, 2. make the class rather more easy than difficult, 3. Slow down the class as that makes it less confusing for beginners and in the same time it is a challenge for advanced students

 

  1. Demonstration

As a beginning teacher demonstrating happens kind of naturally without thinking about it, because it is easier if you are in the pose yourself, so you know what to demonstrate. However we highly recommend you not to fall into the ‘trap’ of demonstrating too much. Demonstrating while teaching prevents you from walking around and being available for the class and students. If you are demonstrating you cant properly observe what is going on, you cant adequately adjust your students. So use demonstrations scarcely and think twice if you decide to demonstrate. Remember most of all this class you are teaching and it is not your own asana class, don’t regard this as your own practice!

– take care of yourself while you demonstrate (period/not warmed up/not one side all the time)

– demonstrate if you know the pose properly

 

– mirror (especially in twists)

– thkink about your angle of demonstration: from the front/the side/facing students

– if you are not warmed up or you cannot come into the pose: ask an (advanced) student to demonstrate the pose. This is nice for the student and it makes your hands free to do and point out properly what you want

 

  1. Adjustments

– If you adjust, adjust

Be firm but with a loving touch

Put awareness in your adjustment, don’t just run from one to the next student

Stay with the student for a little bit after/during the adjustment to see if it worked

Check with the student if the adjustment is ok, you can look at the students face (a grim will tell you its enough), or ask simply : “is it ok” or ‘Tell me when to stop” etc. This makes a nice connection also between you and the student

– Many beginning teachers feel insecure about adjusting. We advise you to start practicing giving adjustments on friends but especially other teachers

– Start from the feet and work your way up

– before giving an adjustment look properly at the student

 

  1. Observation

– What to look at?

– What is the purpose of the pose

– Observing is good anyway

– Look at the students face’

– Look at the breath

– Use what you see, respond to what you see

 

Qualities of a Yoga Teacher

  1. 1.            Consistent practice – at least once a day
  2. 2.            Flexible body & Flexible mind – flexibility not in the body only, but in the ind also: there is no diision between body and mind only to understand we divide up the body from the mind
  3. 3.            Leave your ego at the doorstep with your shoes
  4. 4.            Be authentic
  5. 5.            Always carry beautiful music with you – music that relaxes that mind. And with music we also mean your voice
  6. 6.            Clear instructions with loud and soft voice
  7. 7.            Be relaxed presence: if you are relaxe in your presence ou are relaxed in your words/instructions an dpoise. Aim of yoga is to be relaxed and have a relaxed body
  8. 8.            Adjustments with love – don’t push and only support where they are comfortable. Slowness and softnes are the secret to attain anything in this world
  9. 9.            Ability to connect
  10. 10.         Approach and relate to your students with patience and compassion
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