Teaching Hatha Yoga – Student Safety Policies

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Teaching Hatha Yoga – Student Safety Policies

intensive yoga training courseBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Where do you begin to outline safety standards for your Yoga classes? Many studios have a system of checks and balances to make sure every student benefits from classes. At the same time, students have a variety of expectations when attending Yoga training sessions. Some students want to reduce stress, while others want to be pushed. Below are a handful of guidelines to help Yoga teachers develop their own policies for safety.

1. Know your Student: Each student has different desires. One student may look to join a group of like-minded people. His or her goals should be discussed before class. Your student application should be designed to help understand a student’s state of health and frame of mind. This helps you, and your prospective student, discover if your Yoga school or classes are a good fit.

One student was looking for a class that would be as physically demanding as the Bikram class she saw in a June 2005 episode of 60 minutes. In that episode, she was most impressed by the fact that Bikram Choudhury jumped on the chest of a student who was performing Camel Pose (Ustrasana).

Needless to say, if you do not jump on your students, while they perform Yogic techniques, a rare few of them might be disappointed. It is interesting that some students want to be jumped on, kicked, or insulted in your classes. In that case, counseling might be better than Yoga, but each of us has different needs. This is the reason why new students should come to their first class early.  This “introduction” is a good time for you and your prospective student to exchange ideas about expectations.

2. Have Safety Guidelines in Place: Prepare a list of policies for common courtesy, safety, and precaution. If you assume that everyone will use their “common sense,” you may be surprised. Most people seem to do well on their own without rules. However, a few set the precedents for rules, concerning safety and conduct.

3. Training and Continuing Education: When you decided to become a Yoga teacher, you may have realized: We are all students for life. Learning and discovering make life interesting. Intensives, specialized Yoga teacher training courses, workshops, and online learning will help you become the best you can be.

4. Learn more about Modifying, Adjusting, and Assisting: Some teachers have issues with touching their students. If so, work on developing exceptional observation and cueing skills. Some teachers have great cueing skills, but some students do not listen very well. This is why observation is so valuable. It is important to mentally connect with every student in your class.

Adjusting and assisting require a moderate touch. When performing a physical assist, you can feel the resistance within the muscles, connective tissue, and joints. For the sake of your students, gentle adjustments are safer. Make sure you ask permission for an assist, and maintain communication throughout the adjustment.

© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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