By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Sometimes, all of us need to be reminded to stay on course. After becoming a certified Yoga instructor, some of us become quite comfortable at the front of a class, but there are more than a few teaching mistakes to avoid. Here are some examples of the many pitfalls to avoid, when teaching a Yoga class.

When a student asks you a question, it is wonderful to answer it, but you want to avoid digressing, lecturing, and talking about yourself. Your students have taken the time to come to your classes because they have needs. As teachers, it is easy to get wrapped up in answering, by telling a story.

This is fine, to a point, but make sure it is a short story. Most of the class wants to progress in their practice, has a personal reason for being there, and may not appreciate our personal opinions. We want to focus on the lesson plan, at hand, and subjects related to Yoga practice.

Anything else is a distraction, which will prevent our students from becoming present for their practice. The last thing we need to do is create a diversion, within the Yoga classes we are teaching.

Avoid over correcting: Most students need a little help seeing, hearing, or feeling the right technique. This is fine, but some students begin to feel they cannot do anything right in our classes. Especially, if they are the first one we constantly assist after we have demonstrated a technique and cued the class.

This is not an easy call. Yoga teachers tend to assist the person who needs the most help first, but we have to show attention to the entire class. Each time you enter the class, remain impartial, and move around the room.

Do not become conditioned to constantly hovering over a student who seems to struggle with concepts. Instead, spread your attention out and praise the good technique of a student beside the one who struggles.

Sometimes, Yoga teachers spend so much time correcting, that most students feel they are not worthy of the time spent in class. If we are verbally beating any student’s ego down, is he or she receiving the best possible Yoga instruction?

This does not mean to ignore poor technique, but students should feel better about themselves after leaving our classes. If Yoga teachers appear impossible to please, dedicated students will find a different place to practice.

Therefore, one of the guidelines every Yoga teacher should remember is to encourage students to achieve their personal best, but never discourage them. Always be prepared to create a modification. This will be enough to help a student reach the next horizon on the Yogic path toward better mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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