Teaching Yoga: Ending the Class

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Teaching Yoga: Ending the Class

yoga certificationBy Gopi Rao

Have you ever left a yoga class feeling incomplete? If you felt that way and you taught the class, you probably felt guilty about leaving something out. The most common incomplete ending is when a yoga teacher stuffed the class with asana techniques, but skipped by the pranayama, relaxation, or meditation.

The feelings of relaxation and invigoration are just two of the many responses that people have both during and after practicing Yoga. Many students, especially newer ones, are pleasantly surprised by the emotions they attain from the practice of Yoga. At the beginning of a class, teachers often use guided meditation, breathing techniques and special mantras to set the mood and help students focus. These techniques can also be used at the end of the class.

Many teachers find that ending a class in Corpse Pose while guiding students through meditation are effective techniques. Just as life is cyclical, so is the practice of Yoga. The beginning and the end of a class are usually similar, yet it is what happens during the middle of the class that evokes change. At the end of a class, students are often more aware of their bodies and emotions than they were at the beginning. Many students report feelings of more emotional awareness and strength after Yoga. Moving through the poses while focusing on the breath helps to create and maintain focus.

Many teachers and students begin and end their sessions by saying “Namaste”, which is simply a word that conveys thanks, gratitude and equality between teacher and student. After all, most Yoga teachers are aware that although they are teaching their students, they are also learning from them through the practice of Yoga. Every class is an opportunity for both students and teachers to exchange knowledge and improve upon themselves.

Proper warm up and cool down techniques are essential to any Yoga class. After all, the mind and the body are both challenged through the practice of Yoga, so they must be allowed to rest and relax in order to achieve the optimum results. Some Yoga classes are quite physically challenging and the muscles must be properly cooled down, and that is another important reason to conduct an appropriate ending. The deep relaxation can help students get the most out of the meditation aspect of Yoga as well. Giving time at the end of the class for meditation and relaxation can help the student (and the Yoga  teacher) to fully integrate what they have learned so they can benefit from their practice.

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