Posts Tagged ‘teaching yoga class’

Intensive Yoga Teacher Training: Anatomy

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

kripalu yoga teacher trainingBy Sangeetha Saran

You may hear yoga teachers talk about “massaging the digestive organs” or “lengthening the hamstrings.” Do you know what this means? Unless you have a background in anatomy, you may not understand the anatomical references made during yoga classes. Anatomy is an important aspect of yoga. Prospective yoga teachers are required to take anatomy courses before they can become certified. A basic understanding of anatomy helps yoga teachers to work with students with injuries, and to prevent injuries while teaching yoga classes.

The practice of yoga is over 5,000 years old. Centuries of wisdom have been poured into the creation of asanas, or postures, we practice today. As a yoga teacher, how can you share the knowledge of anatomy without alienating your students?

First, understand that many people who take yoga classes do not want to learn what the psoas is. They come to class to make their muscles healthy and strong, not to learn anatomy. Your job as a yoga instructor is to master these terms, and use them to facilitate safe classes for your students.

If you would like to sprinkle your monologue with anatomical terms, consider showing while you are telling. If you refer to the psoas muscle, point to this muscle on your body. When appropriate, you can also use a student’s body as a model.

If you are focusing a class around a particular muscle or joint, begin the class with a short tutorial on where the muscle is and what it does. Show students where the muscle is on your body. You can also help students find this area on their own body. During the class, give students specific instructions on how to best utilize this muscle. For example, if you are talking about the hamstrings, make sure students know whether they should be contracting or lengthening.

Students may get overwhelmed if you use too many anatomical references, so keep it simple. Introduce only one muscle or joint per class. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the information you plan to introduce.

After the class is complete, you may want to follow up with a trusted student. This suggestion is up to your discretion and comfort. Is there a student that you feel comfortable asking to review the class? If so, ask him or her about the effectiveness of the information you presented.

© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Teaching Yoga Classes – Closing a Fitness Yoga Class – Part 3

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

300 hour yoga certification onlineBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT

We left off at the prone series in part two of this series about teaching a fitness yoga class. The postures we covered were cobra, king cobra, bow posture, half locust posture, and locust. At this point, students are advised watch me demonstrate a supine series containing partial recline pose, bridge, fish, happy baby, a variety of lying supine twists, and finally we rock side to side in knees to chest pose.

This is a physical wind down, but the mind easily follows these postures into relaxation mode. The purpose of such a relaxing sequence is to prepare for stage-by-stage relaxation in Shavasana. I guide students from the toes to the crown of the head.

At each point of the relaxation sequence, we inhale and focus on a particular part of the body. During exhalation, we mentally and physically release tension at the body part we are focusing on. There is also an emotional release during exhalation in a stage-by-stage relaxation sequence.

After students have finally released tension at the crown chakra (sahasrara), students are advised to slowly roll over to the right side and slowly sit up straight for pranayama. At this point in our class, we may practice six to ten rounds each of Brahmari, Anulom Vilom (both sides), and Udgeeth pranayama, as preparation for the meditation session.

The easiest form of meditation seems to be breath awareness. Students often admit that meditation and all forms of mental focusing are the greatest challenge they encounter during Yoga practice. Knowing this, all Yoga teachers should show students the easiest path to meditation.

It is best to start new Yoga students with shorter meditation sessions. For this reason, beginners should start with ten to fifteen minutes of meditation and gradually expand the duration of meditation practice time. Advanced Yoga students may practice meditation for thirty minutes or more.

After meditation, we may cover a reading from any philosophy or religion. The point is to focus on carrying Yoga practice beyond the mat and into life. This is one of many examples of how my Guru taught me to teach Hatha Yoga classes.

Even though the first two earlier sessions were filled with physical exercise, we cannot forget that we are Hatha Yoga teachers. The entire class is the full Yogic experience for the students.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

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If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

Teaching Yoga Classes – After the Opening of a Fitness Yoga Class – Part 2

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

By Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

We left off while practicing head stands at the end of the opening and now we are going into the middle of a fitness yoga class structured for athletes. Students with pre-existing medical conditions or who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to go to a different class.  To continue on with this point, prenatal Yoga classes, under the guidance of a certified teacher specialist and approved by one’s doctor, are the  safest place for pregnant students to practice. 

Ujjayi pranayama is recommended while going through this next portion of asana practice. We will do a separate pranayama session at the end before meditation. To continue on with inversions is the next step. After the head stands and alternative options have passed, we move to shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana).

Students are advised not to look around in this asana. The compression from the cervical vertebrae to the mat is fine, if the vertebrae are free from disease, but moving the head is not recommended while holding Salamba Sarvangasana.

At this point, I demonstrate the next series of asanas. Then students begin to set up. The next postures are plough, bridge, wheel and fish. Explanations about spinal health, modifications, and this series can be made after I walk around the room, while making observations and adjustments.

Rest in knees to chest pose (Apanasana) for one minute. Roll to the right and transcend to cat pose (Bidalasana), downward dog, forward bend, reverse swan dive, and mountain. From mountain position, we will practice rooting first and progress into a dancing warrior series for four rounds.

The dancing warrior series is as follows: Mountain, extended mountain, swan dive into forward fold, step back lunge, warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, side angle, reverse warrior, half moon, reverse warrior, warrior 3, lunge, plank, crocodile, cobra, downward dog, extended dog, pigeon, extended dog, downward dog, extended dog, opposite pigeon, extended dog, lunge, warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, side angle, reverse warrior, half moon, reverse warrior, warrior 3, lunge, step forward into forward fold, reverse swan dive, extended mountain, and finally mountain.

Students are asked to sit for at least three minutes to recharge and relax, while I demonstrate the prone series, which contains cobra, king cobra, bow posture, half locust posture, and locust. After I demonstrate the prone series, students are told to lie on their stomachs for strengthening and stretching the back muscles. We are two thirds of the way through this class and we will cover how to close a class with fitness and Hatha Yoga in mind.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of affordable hatha yoga instructor training programs.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Teaching Yoga Classes – Opening for a Fitness Yoga Class

Monday, July 26th, 2010

about teaching yoga classesBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

Yoga teachers may need to teach a variety of class types. Teaching yoga classes is an art form that grows with your experience. Yoga teacher training programs prepare you to teach many different types of people. The following is the beginning of a series of articles. This article gives you an opening for a two hour, fitness oriented, Hatha Yoga Class.

This sequence is just one of many possibilities. It is only for athletes and students in good health with no medical conditions. These students want to push their athletic limits. Hatha Yoga for therapeutic application is wonderful, but my athletic students want a serious challenge and this gives them what they seek.

To begin: Greet students and settle everyone to sit down. Ask for any medical conditions or injuries that you should be aware of even if students all look healthy. Pregnant students should not be in this class at all. Start the Yoga session with the corpse posture Savasna and relax for one minute.

Pranayama: Sit beginners in perfect posture. Intermediate Yoga students can choose any position they can sit in comfortably for a two minute round each of Kapalabhati, Bhastrika, and alternate nostril breathing. Explain to them the benefits and show all of them how to perform these Pranayama techniques.

Begin asana practice with eight rounds of sun salutations (a series of 12 sequences of postures and synchronized breath). Ask students to lie on their backs to regain their breath for a couple of minutes while doing a series of abdominal strengthening exercises. The abdominal strengthening exercises will continue for twenty minutes.

Start with the boat pose, alternate leg raises, next the double leg raises, hamstring stretches, crunches, cross crunches and a variety of leg raises. Come to all fours and perform cat crunches while kneeling on all fours. Show all students the dolphin, extended dolphin, and how to perform these asanas. Observe and assist them, while they work on dolphin poses.  Work on dolphin variations for ten minutes.

Show students how to go into the headstand. Also, they learn how to measure and a step by step guide to going into this posture by watching first. Everybody is different and not everybody has enough strength to go into head stand straight away. I help students if they need my assistance. There is the option to carry on doing the dolphin, plank, or dolphin plank.

That’s it for now. My next article will discuss the Yoga lesson plan after this opening. This opening alone followed by meditation will make for a challenging Hatha Yoga practice. Please make sure your health is perfect before practicing head stands.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of affordable hatha yoga instructor training intensive programs.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Teaching Yoga – Warm Ups in Your Yoga Classes

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

yoga teacher safety educationBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

Teaching Yoga is an art form that constantly evolves. As the years go by, after our first Yoga teacher training course, we begin to form our own method of teaching. Some Yoga teachers have beautiful openings to their classes, while others may forget the importance of opening, centering, intention, warm ups and pranayama.

Very often students from high stress environments need guidance in focusing. One may say: Surya Namaskars are enough, but Surya Namaskars aren’t good in the evening. Surya Namaskars produce energy in your body and mind that can keep you awake for many hours. The following Hatha Yoga training warm ups are designed for students to bring their minds into practice within the walls of the Yoga school.

Arm Rotation: Standing erect with the feet one foot apart, arms fully extended in line with the shoulders and palms up, slowly turn the arms forward and back keeping the body as upright as possible. Reverse the rotation. The breath is free.

Standing Shoulder-blade Squeeze: Standing erect with feet together, hands on hips and elbows out wide, breathe in and draw the elbows slowly back and towards each other, squeezing the shoulder-blades together. Then slowly return the elbows to the sides, breathing out.

Hip Circling: Standing upright with feet about six inches apart and hands on hips, keeping the back straight, circle hips and pelvis slowly in a clockwise direction, breathing freely. Then circle the hips in the opposite direction.

Half Squat: Standing upright with feet about shoulders width, toes turned slightly out and arms extended straight out, take a deep breath and squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Immediately rise to standing upright, and exhale.

Head Roll: Keeping the back upright and the neck muscles as relaxed as possible, roll the head loosely in a clockwise direction and then anti-clockwise. Keep the rotation of the head slow and smooth. Breathe freely.

Dog Shake Posture: Standing upright with feet about six inches apart, arms hanging limply by the sides, and knees slightly bent, start shaking arms, legs and trunk from side to side rapidly like a dog shaking off water after a swim.

The importance of warming up has always been reinforced in my conversations with my Guru and mentor (Paul Jerard).  At the same time he always encourages teachers to find the Yoga teacher within.  The greatest gift for all Yoga teachers is safe innovation.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching therapeutic yoga sessions and our selection of online yoga teacher training intensive courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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