By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP and Faye Martins
If you are a Yoga teacher or an experienced practitioner, the following tips may be helpful to your students or friends. By now, almost everyone has probably heard about the benefits of Yoga. Everyone probably knows someone, a friend of a friend, or a relative, who practices Yoga and raves about it.
Books and videos filled with Sanskrit might not be the best starting point. Students who considered trying Yoga themselves but dismissed it often encounter obstacles. Yoga can often feel intimidating to beginners, primarily because of all the unknown factors. Beginners have nothing to fear. Yoga for beginners is a non-intimidating, welcoming environment where interested people can learn the techniques and lifestyle which we know improve the quality of life.
Check with a Doctor
As with any other form of movement, people should always check with their doctors before practicing yoga. Perhaps there are specific health concerns the Yoga teacher should be aware of or poses to be avoided because of an injury or tender area. Pregnant women should always let the instructor know of their condition because some poses must be adapted to accommodate the growing fetus. However, pregnant students should practice with a certified prenatal Yoga instructor in a specialized class to be safe.
Yoga requires very little in the way of clothing and equipment. Many Yoga centers provide mats, blocks, and straps for participants. Some people prefer to use their mats, which can be purchased from various sporting goods stores. Blocks and straps are often helpful for students who do not have the flexibility to perform some of the postures. Again, these are often provided by the Yoga facility but can certainly be purchased.
Yoga students should wear comfortable clothing that moves with the body. Loose t-shirts and pants can pose problems during certain poses, as they ride down the belly or up the leg. Most Yoga-inspired clothing is a blend of cotton and spandex to provide soft, comfortable clothing that hugs the body. Most importantly, participants should wear what they are comfortable in and clothing with little disruption to their postures.
Beginner Yoga classes move slowly, ensuring that all participants learn how to perform each technique correctly. Yoga teachers often demonstrate the technique, discussing how it should feel and other essential cues to watch for. Then, the students practice it with the teacher, or the teacher walks around the room to ensure each student is practicing correctly. The connection between the teacher and the student should be constant.
A teacher should observe and communicate with students at all times. Yoga instructors are trained to oversee the students, to determine who needs extra support, or to help if there is a problem with safety or alignment. Students will find that the soothing environment and the careful guidance of the Yoga teacher create a positive experience during classes. People of all physical abilities can attend a beginner’s Yoga class and succeed with gentle guidance.
Tips for Yoga Teachers
Working with beginners can be challenging and rewarding when you’re a yoga teacher. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your classes:
1. Keep your classes small. This will allow you to give each student the attention they need. Avoid overcrowding your classes, which can make beginners feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
2. Go slow and be patient. Beginner students need time to learn the basic poses and Breathing techniques. Don’t rush them – let them take their time and progress at their own pace.
3. Use props. Props, such as yoga blocks and straps, can be helpful for beginner students who are still learning the proper alignment for each pose.
4. Modify the poses. If a beginner student is struggling with a particular pose, offer a modification that will make it easier for them. Once they’ve mastered the modified version, they can try the original pose again.
5. Encourage your students to listen to their bodies. Yoga is about listening to your body and doing what feels good. Encourage your beginner students to do the same, and let them know it’s okay to take a break or skip a pose if necessary.
Yoga Student Safety Tips
When it comes to yoga, safety is always the top priority—for both teachers and students. As a yoga teacher, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved in practicing yoga and take measures to prevent injuries. Here are some tips for teaching yoga safely:
1. Make sure your students understand they should be hydrated before class.
2. Choose appropriate poses and progressions for your students’ level.
3. Teach proper alignment and provide modifications as needed.
4. Help students listen to their bodies and respect their limits.
5. Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue or distress.
6. Encourage students to take breaks as needed.
7. Make sure your yoga space is safe and conducive to relaxation. By following these tips, you can help create a safe environment for your students to practice yoga and reduce the risk of injuries.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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