By Kimaya Singh
A Yoga teacher has several roles to play, as he or she leads a group of students through a comprehensive and approachable sequence of postures, breathing exercises, meditations, and contemplations. One of the primary roles of a Yoga teacher is to create a safe and nurturing space for the students to participate in a class. The teacher is also responsible for demonstrating and guiding the students through a series of poses in a safe and understandable way. Additionally, a certified Yoga instructor will also be able to help his or her students modify the poses, if necessary, and offer suggestions about using Yoga as a therapeutic tool to heal from an injury.
The first order of business, for a Yoga instructor, is to ground the students in the present, and to set the tone for the class. Of course, the studio should be comfortably warm, clean, and inviting. It may also be a nice touch for the teacher to light a candle and place it on an alter as the class begins. This act alone will shift the energy and imbue the class with a sense of sacredness. Another commencement role, that a Yoga teacher may play, is to set the tone for the class, by reading an opening poem or scriptural verse to the students – thereby setting the internal focus and intention of their practice.
Another critical role of an instructor is to create a Yoga training session that is appropriate for the level of his or her students present in each class. It is also very important that the teacher is able to describe, modify, and demonstrate the asanas in a way that is understandable and approachable for all the students in the class, on that particular day. However, if the teacher is handicapped, it is important for the head student to demonstrate asana alignment. Another role that the instructor will play is demonstrating the proper way of practicing pranayama techniques and the most advantageous poses for meditation.
On an individual basis, a good teacher will also be able to help each student to modify the poses as necessary. A certified Yoga teacher will have a firm foundation in anatomy and physiology and will have developed a keen eye for proper alignment in the postures. If the instructor spots a student having difficulty getting into a certain pose, he or she will be able to easily and quickly adjust the student’s alignment, with or without the use of props. This will create a feeling of safety and trust in the students for their teacher, so that they can truly relax and be fully present during the course of the class.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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