By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What are the best methods for correcting Yoga students during class time? Please bear in mind that students come to class with a variety of pre-existing health conditions. A diverse class, full of students, might be a bit intimidating to the new instructor. One student has been practicing for 10 years, and feels comfortable flowing from one pose to the next; another has practiced with a few Yoga DVDs at home, but is still rather new; one has high blood pressure; and another has just informed you of an old knee injury. That is a wide range of concerns to consider. The Yoga instructor must be able to keep an eye on each student, and correct mistakes that could cause injury or discomfort. There are a few different methods to use when correcting a Yoga student’s mistakes.
Explain Before Correcting Yoga Students
One of the duties of a Hatha Yoga teacher is to explain the postures – their benefits and risks. Explain how specific mistakes affect the pose, and mention the dangers associated with a mistake. Do not single out one person, but rather talk in general about common mistakes for the pose, and quick remedies. When most of the class is safely and correctly executing the pose, with one or two exceptions, then go directly to the students who need assistance. Speak quietly and calmly, while you gently correct the posture.
Remember that there is a learning curve when it comes to practicing Yoga. Everyone needs time to perfect the poses, and there are often those “Aha!” moments, when a pose finally clicks, and you finally feel the correct stretch within the body. Some mistakes can be overlooked. Anything that isn’t going to cause direct injury, or harm, to the person, probably does not need mentioning. As Yoga students gain more experience, the kinks in postures will work themselves out.
Compassion While Correcting Yoga Students
If you notice a student having trouble throughout the class, it might benefit that person to speak one-on-one with you after class. Approach the student in a friendly manner. Begin by asking them if they have any questions about specific poses. Demonstrate specific poses again, or help them get into the pose again. Describe what the pose should feel like – which muscles should feel a stretch, and what to watch for within the body. Some people just need a little extra guidance, and it is the instructor’s job to give it.
Above all else, remember that people are in your class to better themselves. They are willing to give Yoga a try, and you would not want to turn them off of it. Keep a positive attitude, be patient, and show compassion to your students at all times.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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