yoga teacherBy Faye Martins

One of the greatest things about yoga is that anyone can do it. Whether you are young or old, healthy or sick or agile or stiff, yoga will provide benefits to your body. The same does not hold true for teaching yoga. Just because you know the poses does not mean you are ready to teach a yoga class. Yoga instructors must think carefully about the students in the class, the type of environment they wish to create and how to best explain the postures and philosophies of yoga to their students. It might seem like a beginner’s class would be easy to teach, but in reality beginners can be one of the hardest groups of students to manage because they haven’t become comfortable with the poses yet. Teaching beginners requires planning as well as a healthy amount of sensitivity toward the students.

Ask Students to Let Go

New students undoubtedly have some type of idea of what a yoga class is like. They might be anxious or nervous about being able to perfect each pose. Some students might not even be aware of the breathing and meditative portions that are integral to a complete yoga training session. The Yoga instructor’s job is to help students let go of preconceived notions about yogic practices and experience the class without setting their selves up for failure. Instructors can encourage students to perform each pose in a way that feels good to them, to release anxiety with their breath or to focus only on their bodies during class. Remind students often that yogic methodology is a non-competitive journey. Postures will improve over time as they gain strength, flexibility and knowledge.

Stick to the Basics

There’s no need to “wow” the students with complicated or difficult asanas that they won’t be able to achieve. Students need to feel confident in their own abilities to perform the poses. Yoga teachers should show beginners a series of basic asanas, like mountain, downward dog, warrior I and bridge. Develop a routine that involves repetition to allow students to become familiar and comfortable with the asanas. As students gain in their abilities, you can gradually introduce new, more complex asanas.

Create a Pleasant Atmosphere

The ultimate goal is to provide a positive experience for all of your students. You want them to come away feeling that yoga is a good thing that they want to keep doing whether it’s in your class or at home. Speak kindly and gently, provide positive feedback and be patient with your students.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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