Going The Extra Mile: What Makes A Great Yoga Teacher
March 28, 2019
What makes you an exceptional Yoga Teacher?
Is it only about knowing all the technicalities?
No, that is just one part of it. Although understanding of yoga is the most significant element, Teacher with sound practical knowledge may not always ensure a happy class.
At the same time, a yoga teacher with comparatively lesser know-how can make it a much more enjoyable experience because of their personality and unique approach.
Here are some precious qualities that yoga teachers must possess to give their students the best and differentiate themselves from the rest:
CONNECTING WITH THE CLASS!
For many, this may seem like the most obvious quality. But very often, yoga teachers tend to be very impersonal. They think of class as just a bunch of students who come in for an hour, exercise and then leave.
As a certified yoga teacher, no one knows better that yoga is a transformative experience. It is not just about weight loss. You have to create a pleasant atmosphere in order to maximize what your students can take away from class.
The first step in that direction is to know your students. Ask them their names, likes and dislikes. You should be aware of their general health and be sensitive to any troubles they face.
Talk to them before class. Simple questions like “Anything in particular that you want to work on?” or “Is there any injury or soreness?” go a long way in making a student feel that they are cared for!
They must feel confident about pushing their boundaries because they know that they are in a safe space. And it is only you who can create that vibe.
As a new yoga teacher, it is tough to come up with even basic lesson plans. You will be constantly worried about getting it right. Take a deep breath. This happens. As you get accustomed to taking classes and making sequences, you will find your footing and become much more confident. And once this confidence comes in, be open to tons of experimentation.
There is no single way of practicing yoga. Feel free to effectively combine different styles, themes and poses so that your students are exposed to a wide range of options. This is the best way to ensure that sequences do not get repetitive.
When it comes to beginners, you want to ease them into the process. Start with the basics and let their bodies and minds tune into what you are teaching.
As they gain experience, you can mix yoga styles and come up with something awesome. However, advanced students only concentrate on certain segments and completely neglect the rest. When you think out of the box, you create sequences that challenge them and motivate them to step out of their asana comfort zones.
The ability to personalize class is one of the biggest advantages a teacher can have.
CELEBRATING THE SILENCE
Yoga Teachers can get quite intimidated or nervous when things go silent. They are tempted to break the quiet with information about the asanas, inspirational words or just generic chatter. Believe me, that it is not required.
In yoga, the power of silence can be harnessed to enhance the experience. Those moments are beneficial to students. It helps them to focus on their minds and bodies and explore the nuances of the discipline.
Complementing the power of silence is using fewer words. This is about how you explain the yoga sequences and poses. Don’t feel pressured to give elaborate instructions.
Let’s take an example. According to DoYourYoga.com, instead of saying, “Pick up your right foot and step it up between the hands then pivot the left foot so it is angled at 45-degrees and lift the arms up to come into Warrior One,” simply say, “Right foot lifts. (pause) Step it up. (pause) Back foot pivots. (pause) Arms lift, Warrior One.”
Learn to work with fewer words and be comfortable with silence.
BE AWARE OF EVERY STUDENT
This awareness comes in once you have acquainted yourself with the class. When a Yoga Teacher is faced with a big group, it is difficult to keep an eye on everyone.
Sometimes, you might be distracted or just not in the best frame of mind. However, as a professional yoga teacher, it is your responsibility to look into every individual student.
Yoga is about exploring your fullest potential. To facilitate that, you must communicate and have good enough knowledge about a student’s strengths and limitations.
Start with small steps like visiting each student. Talk to them about how they feel and if there is something they would want to do differently. Be open to feedback. No one likes a Teacher who sticks to their own methods all the time.
A common trait among new learners is being distracted. They want to concentrate but their mind drifts to their To-Do list. Bring them back to class by sharing something nice about the asana they are practice.
Walk around the room, use verbal cues to correct alignment and make adjustments. Never single out a student for his or her mistakes. Address them personally or make it an informal note to the class.
There are plenty of yoga studios and yoga teachers who conduct generic classes. In a lot of cases, students lose interest and determination just after a couple of months. A teacher’s approach is a major contributing factor. Don’t be the impersonal teacher who doesn’t bother to make an effort.
Be the teacher that makes them want to get out of bed, get to class and remain motivated!
These simple qualities are sure to help you out!