advice for a yoga teacherBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

There is a perception that the world has plenty of competent Yoga teachers. Yet, when you attend a class, you discover teachers are attentive to their students and some who are not. Without speculating on the exact percentage of teachers, who are self-absorbed in their own practice during class time, we can easily imagine that this percentage of teachers is significant.

For example: If you travel from New England to California, and stop at a Yoga studio, or ashram, every three hours, you are likely to see many styles of teaching. By this, I am not referring to the style of Yoga, but to the style and competence level of each instructor you meet on this trip.

If you have been practicing any form of Yoga, for one year or more, why would you want to stay in a class with a teacher who never makes eye contact with his or her students? Some teachers do not allow for questions within the Yoga class. Again, I ask, why would students waste their time with a Yoga teacher who would not share knowledge?

The point to understand is people might think that once one completes Yoga teacher training, he or she is competent. While this may be true, in most cases, it is up to the students to observe the quality of instruction they receive.

Does my Yoga teacher show compassion, modify techniques, make assists, and give constructive advice, without criticism? These are questions that the public should be asking themselves when they attend our classes. It is not enough to go out and get an impressive certification or a registration card.

Teaching Yoga is a constant learning experience – for both the instructor and the student. Some teachers love the stimulation they receive from continuing education. This is an excellent start; but implementing ideas learned, from continuing education, and daily experiences from the interaction with students, is the key to being the best Yoga instructor you can be.

In order to set systems in place for the best possible student experience, we have to develop a comprehensive orientation. This would start with an application, which helps you to understand each student’s physical health and emotional needs. In this way, Yoga teachers will be able to guide new students toward the best choices offered in your facility.

The next step is a formal introduction between both parties. This requires new students to understand that they want to arrive early to their first class. Admitting students, through your doors, after the class has already started, is a very unwise policy.

For example: Let’s say you decide to admit a student, who is five minutes late to class. After all – the class has begun and you are in the middle of getting your students “centered.” This disruption breaks the flow of the entire class. In addition, that student lets you know that she is four months pregnant, after the class has ended.

My point is that you need firm policies and procedures in place, for the safety of those people, who lack the knowledge about how important it is to follow guidelines. For all of the reasons listed above, there will never be too many competent Yoga teachers.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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