By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Why is anatomy education an important part of your teaching skill set? The study of Hatha Yoga involves many different aspects. Yoga teacher interns should study the history and philosophies of Yoga, the poses (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation techniques, teaching methods, ethics, and guidelines for student safety. Anatomy and Kinesiology are also important areas of study for Yoga instructors. The study of human anatomy encompasses the placement of the body’s bones, and the specific systems within the body. Since every aspect of Hatha Yoga involves the mind and body, the study of anatomy makes sense for a well-rounded Yoga education.
When you are teaching a Yoga class, you must be able to help your students safely adjust into, or out of, poses, as necessary. Many of your students will come into class with prior injuries, health concerns, or other health issues. It is the Yoga instructor’s responsibility to ensure the safety of each student, as he or she learns the most about each technique. A competent Yoga teacher will need to accommodate the student by offering advice on modifications for a multitude of techniques. Therefore, a Yoga instructor will need to be extremely knowledgeable about each area of the body and how it will be affected by each technique.
Yoga teachers are often faced with a diverse class full of students. Some people are beginners, attending their first Yoga class ever, while some are quite experienced and quite comfortable in class. A teacher must be familiar with the limitations of every body type, ailment, and experience level. A study of Yoga, for human anatomy, will help the instructor understand how our muscles, joints, bones, and body systems work at all levels of physical fitness.
Importance of Anatomy Education for Yoga Teachers
An understanding of anatomy education is a crucial piece of the puzzle of Hatha Yoga. Physical forms of Yoga involve moving and stretching the body, as well as increasing blood flow within the body. A study of Yoga anatomy covers the study of the body’s muscles, joints, tissues, membranes, cells, and more. It is important for all Yoga instructors to understand what is occurring within the body to increase the blood flow to each muscle, and how this will affect the body.
Many Yoga students like the way they feel after a good session of practice. They often feel light, loose, and invigorated. It is probably enough for the student to feel that way without knowing why, but a Yoga instructor must know what is causing these feelings within the body and mind. Many students have questions, and it is the instructor’s responsibility to answer those questions knowledgeably. In order to gain the respect of students, the teacher must present himself, or herself, as an informed source on the aspects of the human body related to Yoga.
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