500 hour yoga teacher training coursesBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

The following is a brief compilation of tips that will help anyone taking Yoga teacher training exams. Generally speaking, Yoga teacher courses are composed of three basic parts. These parts may be your written exams, essays, and practical exams. There may be one, or more, of these parts involved during the examination process.

Written Exams: Usually, written exams are based upon foundational Yogic knowledge. The points, that the examiners may be drawing you to, are valuable for anyone, who will be teaching Yoga classes. In other words, this is knowledge that you should have been mastered, before you began teaching a class.

Written Exams may be based upon one, or more, books which are part of the curriculum. When referencing books, it is always best to reference the book, author, and page number of the information you are presenting. In this way, you support your answer with concrete evidence.

At the same time, there is nothing wrong with having a personal opinion that agrees, or disagrees, with the author’s point. In this way, you also show evidence that you are able to think for yourself. The exception to this is if the examiner requires you to give an answer that is based only upon the author’s opinion.

Essays: One of the biggest mistakes to make on an essay is to cut-and-paste writings by various authors, and then try passing it off as your own work. If you quote an author, you should also give credit to that author by stating the author’s name, the book or website, and include the page number or URL.

When using any quotes by authors to support your essay, you would want to provide a page of references – whether a separate “References” page or Footnotes at the bottom of each page where the quote is included within the text of the page. Also related to this: Limit the number of supporting quotes, to about 20 percent, of your work. The examiner is looking for your thoughts, not a complete compilation of another author’s thoughts.

Practical Exams: This is usually considered the hardest part of the testing. However, preparation is going to help you pass this hurdle. Interns, who spend time teaching mock classes, recording their classes on video, and practicing teaching techniques, will pass much easier than someone who puts little thought into how to conduct a class.

Teaching a Yoga class is composed of cueing skills, observation skills, showing modifications, and assisting when needed. You never want to turn your back on your students and “do your own Yoga practice.” It is a wonderful thing when one can perform a technique, but a teacher is being tested for his or her ability to lead a class.

One last point about the Practical Exam – if you find yourself facing away from your students, it is probably a good time to get off your mat and walk around the room. It always seems to be that, when you turn your back to your students, there is a mental disconnect between you and your students.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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