By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
What are the secrets of teaching Yoga? What you are about to read applies to teaching, in general. In fact, we are all teachers, to some degree. You teach your friends, co-workers, strangers, and family members on a daily basis. The example you set teaches someone in some way. Whether you are a positive role model, or not, people and the world, react to you. Sorry to say, all of you have more responsibility than you thought possible.
Practice Teacher Guidelines
Always be aware that when you hurt one person, it will set a chain of events into motion. Another point to mention is that most violent acts were stimulated by smaller, seemingly unimportant events. When you talk to your students, always show mutual respect. Do not take advantage of your position as a Yoga teacher to temporarily feed your ego.
Bring Positive Energy
Are there any special secrets of teaching Yoga? Yes, the energy you bring to class should be positive and highly charged. The first thing a good teacher should instill, in his or her students, is self-motivation. The serious student is usually a self-starter. This is a person who practices Yoga at home, as well as in class. They don’t depend on their friends to come to class, and they show up like “clockwork.” Now that you are encouraging students to become self-starters, you must realize the percentage of truly motivated adults is quite low. That said, you are creating an atmosphere of positive energy.
Cultivating Student Motivation
How can you help your students become self-motivators? You must show up to class early, enthused, and energized. Encourage all of your students and sincerely praise their achievements. The truth is, Yoga is like music, you can teach a student the basics, but for them to reach their highest potential, you want to stir the creativity from within. When your students become innovators, you can help them refine their Yoga training and watch them become motivators. A truly great teacher will produce better teachers, who surpass him or her; and isn’t “passing the torch” what it’s all about?
Teaching Yoga often requires patience because students often have to work their way through challenges. It is important for instructors to allow students to successfully complete a technique in a way that works for them. This also enables students to gain confidence as they work toward self-mastery. Students who achieve success feel motivated and are willing to put more time into practicing.
Balancing Safety Issues
As a teacher, it is difficult to balance patience and keep students safe at the same time. Sometimes, students need more time to focus or ask questions in order to process new information. It is important not to feel rushed when teaching, which means taking your time and being mindful of the various obstacles your student might be facing. Ultimately, you build patience within by including meditation in your personal practice.
Enhancing Continuing Education
Sometimes, teachers do not have the knowledge for modifying their teaching methods to fit the needs of students. This limits the ability of teachers to give options because they’re unsure of how to safely challenge their students. How do we balance safety while providing students with moderate challenges they need. It’s up to continuing education, rather than teachers themselves to make these changes by increasing their training knowledge.
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