By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500
Observing yoga classes should come naturally to instructors. Good teaching encompasses a wide range of skills and knowledge. The best yoga teachers are often “naturals,” with an innate ability to reach students positively and upliftingly. However, many important teaching skills and methods can be learned. The most successful teachers constantly self-evaluate, observe peers, and strive to improve themselves. Observation is somewhat of an art, with different methods appropriate for various situations. When evaluating other yoga instructors, it is important to focus the observation on a particular skill or method.
Absorb an Ongoing Class
For beginning yoga instructors, sitting in on a class with a particularly experienced instructor is beneficial to get a feeling for how he or she runs the class as a whole. During initial observations, it is okay not to have a specific goal but to absorb the class’s atmosphere, structure, and flow. When you observe an ongoing class run by a master instructor, you should note how the class is structured and how the instructor interacts with the students. You should also pay attention to the students’ reactions and body language to get a feel for how they respond to the class.
If you’re observing a yoga class for the first time, it’s important to understand that there are different types of classes. Some classes may focus more on physical postures, while others may be more meditative or breath-centric. Choosing a class that aligns with your goals and interests is important. Once you’ve found a class you’re interested in, make sure to arrive early to find a spot where you’ll have a good view of the instructor and the students. If possible, sit near the back of the room, so you’re not distracted by those around you.
As the class begins, note how the instructor greets the students and sets the tone for the session. Please pay attention to their voice and body language as they cue each posture or movement. If possible, take notes on anything that stands out to you or that you’re unsure about so that you can ask questions later. Throughout the class, pay attention to how the students respond to the instructions. Are they following along easily or struggling with certain movements? Do they seem engaged and focused, or are they chatting with those around them?
Observing Other Teachers
Once new instructors find a mentor or study another yoga teacher’s methods they admire, it is appropriate to observe several times. Determine one specific piece of the yoga class to observe, and take notes as necessary. Perhaps you might focus on the flow of the postures, noting the order of the poses and how they flow into each other. Observe the yoga instructor’s interaction with the students. How does he or she welcome the yoga students, explain postures, note possible modifications, or give cues throughout the class? Stay focused on the entire class while noting any questions about the class.
After the Class
After observing, you must talk to the yoga instructor about what you observed. Perhaps he or she can give you more specific information about the teaching methods used, or you can discuss any specific situations that arose during class and how they were handled. Do not be afraid to ask any questions that come up during class. If a yoga teacher has no time to answer questions, do you want to learn from him or her? There are several ways to learn yoga, but some people find it difficult to attend a class in person. If you cannot attend a class, watching class videos is another great way to learn yoga.
Observing yoga classes by watching videos is very useful. This is a great way to get a feel for the pace and style of different classes and to see how different instructors teach. When you watch videos of yoga classes, please pay attention to the sequencing of the poses, the alignment cues the instructor gives, and the way they cue the students. Also, notice how the instructor uses their voice, body language, and props. All of these elements are important when you’re teaching yoga. You can learn a lot about how to teach yoga effectively by watching videos of yoga classes. You’ll get ideas about how to sequence your classes, what alignment cues to give, and how to use your voice and body language. You can also learn about using props in your classes.
Journaling for Yoga Teachers
Take some time after observations to journal about what you saw, noting the methods you can see yourself using in your future yoga classes. Personal reflection is important as you begin a yoga teaching career and should be implemented throughout as you grow and learn through teaching. As a yoga teacher, you constantly observe your students and their practice. This can be a lot of information to process, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything you see. Journaling is a great way to record your observations and keep track of your student’s progress. There are many benefits to journaling for yoga teachers.
Benefits of Journaling
First, it allows you to document your students’ progress over time. You can look back at previous entries to see how far they have come and what areas still need work. Second, journaling can help you identify patterns in your students’ practice. Maybe you notice that certain students always struggle with the same pose, or there is a common theme among the students progressing quickly. Third, journaling can be a form of self-care for yoga teachers. It can be difficult to keep up with the demands of teaching, and journaling can help you release some of the pressure you may be feeling. Finally, journaling is a great way to reflect on your practice as a yoga teacher. You can track your progress and growth over time and reflect on what works well and could be improved.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
Please visit the following link to see our online Yoga teacher training courses.
Are you interested in Meditation Teacher Training?
Click here to see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.
Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?
52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice
by Rina Jakubowicz.
A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance
by: Gail Boorstein Grossman.
by B.K.S. Iyengar
See our selection of affordable yoga teacher certification courses.