Tips for Observing and Assisting Yoga Students

assisting yoga studentsBy Avalon Hicks

How can we improve our skills in assisting yoga students? The first step is to reach a student where there is a fundamental need. Each student has unique reasons why he or she is in your class. The practice of yoga is useful for many aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga is known as a healthy and holistic practice that includes controlled breathing, meditation, mantras and holding many different body postures in order to aid in relaxation and promote health benefits. Many benefits of yoga can include self-awareness, mental calmness and even strength and flexibility. If you have been practicing yoga for some time and want to teach others there are some points that you need to keep in mind while you begin the road to teaching others about your practice.

 

If you are new to teaching yoga there are several things to make note of in order to be an effective and helpful teacher. Firstly you should realize that not everyone will absolutely love your practice the way you do. Everyone learns the practice at their own pace and while you may favor Vinyasa yoga, others will prefer Bikram yoga. How you approach students’ learning is an important aspect to developing a relationship with them that you can build on as you go through the classes.  Assisting yoga students is not just making physical adjustments. You might be helping them in a conversation that takes place before or after a class.

Keep your vocabulary simple and speak slowly. Often students will be new to the practice and will need to be explained poses in simple terms rather than Hindu or Sanskrit references. Speaking slowly and clearly will help your students remember what you are saying and aid them in performing the poses that you want them to complete.

Leave your own mat when possible. Do not stay at the front of the class the entire time, but rather walk through your class. Offer suggestions to your students’ poses such as modifications or advanced moves when the poses allow. Remember that all of your students will progress through the poses at their own pace and may require modifications based on their own needs. Your students will thank you for the individualized attention you can give them during the class.

 

Be sure to practice different sequences that you want to do in class beforehand. You will want to be able to show the flow of movement properly and effortlessly for your class rather than not being prepared enough. Every teacher no matter what class they teach should be prepared and part of being a yoga teacher is having your poses determined before class.

Remember that even through you are the teacher, you will never stop learning. Keep in mind that your students can teach you something in every class. Be open to learning from them as often as they learn from you. Take other classes to learn from other teachers as well as teaching your own students. Try to learn about many different types of yoga so that you are open to many different styles for your students. Assisting yoga students is not a one way street, because you learn something in every class you teach.

Practice up on your adjustments so that you are able to help your students no matter how seasoned they are at their practice. You will need to study anatomy more closely in order to understand them better for your students. Pair up with another teacher and perform adjustments on one another so you become familiar with hands-on experience before you begin classes.

 

Be open with your students. Try to help them learn how to connect with their inner-self and find inner peace through yoga. Explain to them about your own practice and talk them through your own journey so they can see how you progressed as a student to teacher. Build up a rapport with them by letting them in and expressing your love for the practice. Let them know that yoga is a expedition that will never be completed but rather an on-going journey.  Teaching skills like assisting yoga students evolve over time.

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5 thoughts on “Tips for Observing and Assisting Yoga Students”

  1. To assist effectively for yoga student you should try to learn about many different types of yoga so that you are open to many different styles for your students.

  2. Hi Dr Paul,
    I am a Yoga teacher/therapist and have read with interest some of your blogs.
    I live in the uk and work in palliative care…I would really like to start working more with our patients.. With issues such as fear..anxiety..pain..etc.

    • Hi Jerry, You should reach out to hospitals, physicians, and medical facilities in your area. They will be able to point you in the best direction for reaching out to patients. All the best, Paul

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