By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Many Hatha Yoga certification courses emphasize the value of teaching students who have flexible bodies or have invested years of asana practice. Yet, how many students will meet these criteria? Most students who come to Yoga classes have very little experience.
In addition to this, many new Yoga students are over 40, have health conditions, and physical limitations. Their doctors recommend Hatha Yoga classes because it has a reputation for being a therapeutic health maintenance system. Yoga was not designed to be a whipping tool for punishing less physically inactive adults.
This is not a criticism of Yoga classes that are physically challenging; but if you decide that you want to teach athletes, you should describe the type of class you will be teaching, completely. A beginner student is only going to feel worse about himself or herself if you are performing a marathon of Sun Salutations over the course of your class.
Beginner, Gentle, Restorative, and Therapeutic classes should also have complete descriptions on your website or brochure. It is estimated that more than 60% of the students, who walk through your door, will have no, or very limited, experience in studying Hatha Yoga.
Most schools, or studios, who have large followings of advanced students, have grown them within. In other words, new students began to practice and stayed over the long term. Since students are different in their minds and bodies, it makes perfect sense to have a variety of classes.
For example – some studios have Vinyasa or Hot Yoga classes for students who are seeking a physical challenge. At the same time, the same studio may have Gentle, Restorative, or Therapeutic styles for students who want classes that are less vigorous.
The main point to make is that when one person goes to a restaurant – he or she does not necessarily order the same dish as someone else. The same principle applies to Yoga classes within studios or health clubs. That being – people will gravitate toward the type of Yoga that suits their needs.
To put everyone in a 105 degree Fahrenheit room is going to bring about a variety of reactions; especially, if they come from a climate where they consider anything over 80 degrees Fahrenheit to be hot. People tend to be comfortable within the normal temperatures of their geographic location.
There are many forms of Yoga that are not focused on the physical body. Meditation may be the primary objective in these classes. If a new Yoga student is seeking an effective method to train the mind, a “trial by fire” may not be needed.
© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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