Avatar
myles golden
April 24, 2011
Five Great Teaching Tips

Five Great Teaching Tips

~ Save meditation for the end of class…

Our students are stepping out of their hectic life and into the tranquil space that yoga classes provide.  People’s minds are usually still racing with thoughts from the day they have had or are about to have.  It can be very difficult and possibly frustrating to immediately be told to sit still and clear the mind.  Many of us need to move and breathe before we are ready to meditate.  While it is wonderful to begin class in stillness to establish a connection with the breath, remember not to keep them there too long.  If you want to incorporate meditation into your group classes, save it for the end when everyone is in the blissed out state that you have helped to facilitate.

~ Don’t be scared of silence…

Many teachers – especially newer teachers – feel they have to fill every minute of class with words.  Don’t let a few moments of silence freak you out.  We live in a culture and time of information overload.  One of the many benefits of a yoga practice is taking a break from all the stimuli we have in our daily life and developing an internal focus.  As teachers, we want to encourage this inward connection by saying as little as possible while making sure that we deliver a safe, creative and nurturing environment.  The quiet spaces in between are just as valuable as your words of wisdom.  Strive to find a balance between the two.

~ Teach to whomever shows up…

Throughout your career as a yoga instructor you will hear many different opinions on the value of planning your class beforehand – whether it be in detailed notes or as simple as a loose class design in your head.  There is no right answer and as yoga teachers we all have our own methods.  But it is very important to teach to whomever shows up.  If you are hoping to teach a bunch of arm balances and deep backbends – take an inventory of the overall level of the class during the first few minutes – you will know right away if this is appropriate or not.  Let go of your plan if it is not right for the students who showed up that day.  Many times your sequence will work out perfectly – especially if you have been teaching the class for a long time and you have a pretty good idea of the usual energy of the class.  But sometimes it is not always so predictable – be ready to chuck the plan and be spontaneous…it could end up being an even better teaching experience than you had anticipated!

~ Always adjust the same person on both sides…

If you give a student an adjustment on one side – remember to give them the same one on the other side.  Not only does it contribute to a more balanced physical experience, but your students will greatly appreciate the extra touch and attention.

~ Don’t be afraid to try something new or different…

Yogis have such a huge variety of classes, styles and teachers to choose from these days – we are lucky!  As teachers what sets us apart from each other are our individual personalities and our ability to act on and not be afraid of our own creative ideas.  For a long time I tried to teach exactly like my first and favorite teacher Chappy.  While the core of my teaching is still greatly inspired by his free-flowing Vinyasa style, over time I have developed my own point of view.  Through exposure to different trainings, teachers and my own practice, I found my voice and teach in a way that is more my own.  Along the way I was often afraid to try new things because I felt that students were coming for a specific experience and if I changed it they would be disappointed and not come back.  I always took that risk and have learned time and time again that most students can feel when you are teaching from the heart and from a deeper sense of self – rather than just trying to deliver what you think they want.  Never be afraid to try something new, play a different type of music, create a new sequence, or completely change your teaching style.  If the change or idea is truly inspired, than your students will feel it and get a much richer experience from your yoga class.

Leave a Reply