By Faye Martins
Some yoga instructor certification courses, teach you to be responsive to your students needs, while others teach you to become a pseudo-drill sergeant. Depending on how you relate to others, you are attracted to one of these two schools of thought. One Guru thinks everybody needs a spanking, while many others stress student safety in their yoga teacher training courses. Let’s look at a way to balance compassion with guidance.
Yoga instructors must be attuned to their students’ needs at all times. In order to have a successful class, the students should walk away feeling light, stretched and free of mind. The ultimate goal of the instructor is to please all of his or her students by showing individual attention and catering to individual needs as much as possible. These challenges are not small and even the best yoga instructors will face student objections from time to time. Instructors should never dismiss student objections. They should always acknowledge the problem and do what they can to solve it.
Many beginning students feel overwhelmed by some of the advanced poses. Sometimes the immediate reaction is to shut down with an “I can’t do this” attitude. The instructor needs to gently encourage his or her students to give it a try. We never want students to do things they are comfortable with, but on the other hand it is the instructor’s job to show them that they can indeed be successful. Perhaps the best strategy is to give students options when it comes to the harder techniques. Instructors can show them simpler poses that lead up to the more difficult asana, encouraging them to work towards specific goals.
“I’m Comfortable Here.”
As students progress with their yoga training sessions, many find a spot where they are comfortable. Perhaps they know all the asanas reasonably well and can go in and out of the poses smoothly. They reach a plateau where anything beyond seems a bit frightening. When students are reluctant to grow, their yoga training isn’t going to provide as many benefits as it could. When an instructor notices a student in this situation, they should encourage them to work harder on other aspects, such as breathing, visualization or meditation. Students can concentrate on each asana more and try to move in sync with their breath or hold each pose longer. Even the most experienced practitioners can go deeper into their practice to gain the benefits. Yoga teachers should try to encourage students to set goals and not get into a rut.
“I’m Too Distracted.”
Many students come to class with a busy mind and a stressed body. It’s hard for some people to let that go during yoga class. However, part of yoga means letting go of all emotions, thoughts and feelings for a while to allow the body to decompress. When an instructor notices a student who is often distracted, he or she should work with the student to let go during class.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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