By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What are the most valuable skills of a Yoga teacher? Students attending a Yoga class expect to find a calm, comfortable environment; a warm, inviting space, soft music, and quiet voices. They expect to be greeted with a smile by the Yoga instructor, as well as the other students. Yoga students often form relationships, based upon the mutual interest in Yoga and wellness. This entire atmosphere is created and nurtured by the instructor. The teacher sets the tone for the entire class through his or her own methods of interpersonal communication.
Therefore, it is important that the Yoga teacher has a set of interpersonal skills that are role model worthy. Although teachers spend much of the class talking by giving cues, information, and reminders, it is also important for them to be active listeners. Teachers need to tune-in to the needs and personalities of their students in order to serve them well during class. Students want to feel like valued members of the group, and teachers can support this need by listening.
Enhancing the Vocal Skills of a Yoga Teacher
Instructors also need to work on their tone of voice. They should deliver material in a voice that is calm and even. It must be loud enough for everyone to hear, but not so loud that it changes the calming atmosphere of the room. Many Yoga instructors deliver cues in a lilting voice that can encourage students to go deeper into a state of relaxation. It is fine to laugh and have fun during Yoga class, while keeping the structure of class intact.
Body language is an integral part of non-verbal communication. Instructors need to convey a welcoming spirit through body language. They should avoid crossing their arms, instead placing them loosely at their sides when talking with students before and after class. It is also important to maintain eye contact when speaking individually with students, and always scan the room making eye contact with students while teaching class.
The actions and words of a teacher should convey respect toward the students. Instructors should never boast, or demean students in any way. A modest approach is best, where the instructor imparts his or her knowledge of Yoga while remaining humble.
Reviewing the Skills of a Yoga Teacher
Even if these skills do not come naturally, they can be developed and honed by Yoga instructors who are eager to succeed. It can help to watch more experienced instructors during their classes to observe how they interact with students. Allow your own personality to shine as well, but make sure you are always communicating in a way that is open, comfortable, and friendly.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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