By Faye Martins
After completing Yoga certification, many instructors work with people who are new to Yogic practices. Many new Yoga instructors are anxious about teaching their first class. They spend time reviewing their lesson plans, mastering techniques, and thinking about what to do next. One thing you won’t have to do is create a handout, because here’s one after this paragraph. Over time, you will have to make changes. So please feel free to modify the handout below to suit your own needs.
In its purest sense, Yoga is an ancient philosophy that integrates the mind, body and spirit. While its comprehensive practice results in optimal benefits, people in the United States often think of its disciplines separately. The three branches most commonly practiced and discussed are breathing techniques, postures and meditation.
For beginners, information may seem overwhelming or shrouded in mystery. The important thing to remember is that it’s not necessary to know the history of Vedic texts or the Sanskrit names of poses to take up Yoga training. A few simple rules can set new Yogis on the right track and prevent mistakes.
Things Beginners Need to Know about Yoga
• Yoga promotes a healthy, clean lifestyle; it does not require a particular belief system or interfere with personal values.
• People practice many styles of Yoga in a wide variety of environments, oriented around everything from spirituality to complementary health care.
• Classes range in difficulty from therapeutic to intense.
• Instructors vary in levels of expertise, points of view and goals for students.
• Students need not be thin, athletic or wear fancy gear. Breathable, loose clothing and a non-slip mat are usually sufficient.
Eight Ways to Avoid Mistakes
• Talk to your Yoga teachers before your first class, and then start out with a plan that can be modified, if necessary.
• Start at the beginning – Yoga is not competitive, but it’s hard not to try to do what the students around you are doing. It’s best to find a class with other people on a similar level.
• Find a Yoga teacher who gives precise instructions and works with you to make sure you are doing poses properly. Not only will you learn the correct procedure, but you will also avoid injuries.
• Discuss any limitations or health conditions with the instructor beforehand. Yoga is for everybody, but not the same thing is good for every person.
• If you have disk-related or other similar problems, don’t settle for someone who says “don’t do this if it hurts you.” You may not know until it’s too late.
• Remember the tortoise and the hare. Strains and injuries are expensive and painful, and they set you back in the long run.
• Don’t eat a heavy meal before going to class.
• If you have special needs, find an instructor with special training. Always choose a teacher whose philosophy resonates with yours.
If you follow these rules, beginning your practice should be a breeze. If problems arise, you will have someone there to help you.
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