By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Beyond philosophy, meditation, asana, and Pranayama, there is still much more for an intern to learn about teaching Yoga. These subjects get some attention, during a 200-hour Yoga certification course, but once an intern has successfully graduated, a peripheral subject becomes a part of daily independent research or continuing education.
Teaching methodology is learned by instructing classes. Interns should have a firm grasp of the principles, practices, and procedures involved in teaching classes. Upon successful graduation, interns have learned the necessary procedures and techniques involved in teaching a class.
There is a “stepping stone” process for learning how to teach. The first step is careful observation of other Yoga teachers. Learn what you would, and would not, do by participating in a class. This form of observation requires the intern to participate, and take in the whole classroom experience, in complete silence.
Learning to adjust, modify, and assist for alignment is the second step. Work with everyone who will allow you to. This will require some repetitive homework. Repetition is the best way to become comfortable with assisting.
Some interns act as assistants to a Yoga teacher during a class. The assistants will help students with modifications, props, alignment, and physical assists. This is a great way to gain experience. Once this has been mastered, teaching friends in small groups, semi-private, or private sessions is a good way to develop inner confidence.
If you concentrate on each step of development, you will be successful. No step should be by-passed. Some Yoga teachers never develop a sense for modifications, using props, proper alignment, or giving an assist. You never want to be one of them.
A competent Yoga instructor should be able to teach anyone, regardless of their physical ability. We can adapt our teaching style to suit the physical abilities or limitations of our students. A Yoga class should not be a “trial by fire” for new students. Hence, the graduate of a well-rounded teacher training course should be able to teach a wide variety of students in different stages of health.
The personal practice of interns and Yoga teachers should be a part of daily life. To read Yogic philosophy, meditate, practice pranayama, and practice asana should be a structured part of each day. This also allows time for exploring your own practice and developing solutions for your students.
It is inevitable that you will find students who have health conditions. This will require you to become an innovator. To imitate your best teachers is a wonderful compliment to them, but to eventually become creative is a testament to the entire Yoga teacher training process.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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