By Bhavan Kumar
What are the most important tips for yoga teachers to know? Although yoga is rejuvenating, calming, and one of the healthiest activities you can engage in, teachers are expected to be professional, safe, and participate in continuing education. No studio or health club wants an unsafe teacher on the staff. An instructor’s personal practice, continuing education, and the quality of classes taught must be run as such. That said, to do a good job, teachers must remain mindful of their own practices, perfecting their own inner evolution in yoga in order to pass on what is at its core a holistic health maintenance system.
1. Preparing the class space
Since you are responsible for checking people in, it is extremely important that you are the first one to arrive each day. Doing so allows you to ensure the room’s feel is equally rejuvenating and calming. Teachers who are late for class do not remain on the staff for long, which makes this one of the most important tips for yoga teachers to know, because being late for class, running classes late, or quitting early ranks among the most common reasons why teachers are fired.
There are a variety of things you can do at the start of each day to ensure that your students enjoy their yoga journey. For instance, you should dim the lights as this will soften the room and set an atmosphere that is distinctly different from the everyday world. Playing soothing music is another great way to set the mood and help people get into a relaxed state of mind.
2. The arc of each class
No matter the style of yoga you teach, it is important that your classes have a calming sequence that facilitates the rejuvenation and soothing results that practicing yoga brings. For instance, you could begin each class with breath awareness, followed by warm-up postures to help your students transition from the stress of their day, allowing them to fully immerse themselves into the class experience.
In terms of ending a class, you should slowly begin to increase the transitioning time between poses (slowing the pace), rather than abruptly ending the class. For instance, remaining in passive postures for a bit longer (per posture) nearing the end of the class or allowing students to stay in calming postures before the close of the class can help your students further enjoy these restful poses and end the class peacefully. Additionally, this type of pose preference at the end of the class sends them back into the world with peaceful minds.
3. Music as an option
Music is not required, but it can improve the ambience of a class. Incorporating music can enhance the student experience. However, it is important to choose music that mirrors the feel of the class. For instance, you should consider rhythmic music that matches the pace of a vinyasa class or relaxing spa-like music for a restorative class. Therefore, the pace of the music should match the pace of the class.
The most effective yoga teachers ensure that each class is comprised of sequences that are delivered to their students in a clear manner. For instance, each pose should incorporate appropriate breathing, and the message behind each pose should make sense to the overall theme of the class. You should also be sure to continually observe your students and help them adjust their poses when needed. Remember a verbal assistance is just as valuable as a physical assist. In fact, many facilities have “hands off” policies in regard to assists.
5. Be prepared
Planning your classes ahead of time can be the difference between a great experience and a class that leaves people feeling less than enthusiastic about your classes. A good way to ensure you are always prepared is to write down the sequences and postures for each class in a notebook that you can reference if needed.
6. Revenue Streams
If you decide to teach yoga full time, you have to do more than teach group classes in order to make a living income. Some instructors teach private lessons, specialized workshops, other healing modalities, and sell related products or services. Some teachers have retail websites with services and holistic products.
Selling merchandise online, and in your retail location, might seem difficult if you are not a natural salesperson. The good news is that you do not have to be. In the same way people practice yoga to be healthy, and achieve a sense of inner calm, they very much love buying gear associated with hobbies, interests, and organizations they value. As such, you are not selling them gear. Instead, you are making available options for them to even further identify with the practice of yoga – Helping them remain mindful and excited about gearing up and getting to class.
7. Commit to the process of personal development
In the same way other professionals in any industry commit themselves to continuing education, yoga teachers should practice and continually improve their own abilities. Continuing education is a key to gain deeper understanding of the practice of yoga. As teachers, we strive to pass the knowledge we have acquired to our students.
Your Personal Growth in Teaching
Finding a network or someone whose practice and heartsease that you resonate with will enhance your own growth. A great teacher will act as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and will push you to develop your own areas of expertise as you continue to teach. Take the opportunity to meet teachers online or in-person, ask questions, and determine if a working relationship is a good fit. It’s important that you work well with a mentor or group.
What do you hope to accomplish by teaching yoga? What resources and time do you have to support you? What will you be doing with this training afterward? Will you be making a life transition or attempting to open up a yoga studio of your own? These and many more questions must be asked and answered to make sure you are prepared to make the shift from student to teacher. The changes might be uncomfortable, but you should welcome them and see how wonderful your transformation will be.
It can be tempting to model your practice after another teacher, but you will only go so far without creativity of your own. As you continue your own practice and teach, be open to learning from and growing from your students, your teacher, and events in your own life that you can bring to the mat. Using life experiences and your own personal growth to enhance your practice is one of the most powerful things that you can do to become the great yoga teacher you’ve always dreamed of.
Teaching is a wonderful journey of awareness, reflection, strength, and self-discovery. Cherish each experience, commit to learning something new every day, and stay humble as you strive for greatness.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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