By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed How do we go about nurturing harmony in our Yoga classes? According to BKS Iyengar, who was one of the most well loved and highly respected Yoga teachers of our time, “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.” He goes on to state that, “ [...]
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed. How can you teaching balancing holiday Yoga classes? Once again, the holiday season is upon us. Many homes are now displaying brightly colored Christmas lights and glowing Menorahs in honor of the holiday season. At this time of the year, many Yoga practitioners find themselves challenged to maintain their practice, as [...]
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed Are you interested in methods for improving Yoga student safety? The safety of students can be improved by encouraging open and forthright communication, between a Yoga teacher and his or her students. Whether or not a student is new to your class, encouraging open lines of communication is of paramount importance [...]
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed. How can your students learn to apply mindful breath awareness to life? The warm, balmy months of summer easily lend themselves to teaching Yoga classes in an outdoor environment. Traditionally, Yoga postures and breathing exercises were practiced outside, or at least within the natural confines of a cave, grove of trees [...]
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed. Choosing effective themes for teaching Yoga classes is one of the subtle nuances of teaching that will help to keep your classes fresh and engaging. Sequencing a series of physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation techniques that nurtures your students’ well being, in a balanced and effective manner, is similar to [...]
There is much more to yoga instruction than we can fit into four neat categories. On the other hand, breaking the work down into four parts can be a digestible model for teachers to more insightfully reflect upon, and from that grow in, what we offer. Perhaps we realize that our students would benefit from more of our own demonstration, or that we’re keen observers – but could use work on how we craft our verbal instruction. Feedback from students and fellow instructors can aid in that growth process.
Regardless of the goal, desire or dream, the belief in a better future is a common theme that runs through all of these aspirations. If you are teaching Yoga classes, the aspiration of your students to be able to flow seamlessly through a series of challenging postures, or to hold Upward Facing Bow comfortably for five full breaths, is grounded in the basic desire to increase his or her overall level of strength and flexibility.
For instructors, we can “take the road less traveled by” through challenging ourselves to grow in the same ways – taking classes, visiting studios, consulting sources that ourselves and others might not yet have discovered are indeed valuable. Our teaching styles can also be beneficially unconventional. If we find ourselves always guiding certain advanced students in our classes (because we might – understandably – want to push them even further to their potentials), we can shift our focus to see what other perhaps more novice students can offer. We can also take (healthy and measured, albeit) risks with alternative approaches to guiding students through postures or imparting yoga philosophy, amongst other elements that we offer in our classes. Whatever the case may be, whomever you might be as a practitioner or instructor, venturing away from the conventional can indeed “make all the difference”.
As I see it, and which I have observed from direct experience, those small efforts can be more than well worth it. As fellow teachers, I would love to hear your suggestions pertaining to, challenges with, and other thoughts related to “supervision”/mentorship in yoga instruction – so please feel free to post your responses below. Thank you for reading and sharing, and let’s keep the invaluable discussion going – for ourselves and for those whom we serve with our instruction! Namaste!
In addition to being an E-RYT, I am also in graduate school for Dance/Movement Therapy. In the field, consistent supervision with a qualified professional is not only advised - it is most often required to practice. Guidance from another wise individual is not a foreign concept in yoga, as I am sure you as a qualified teacher are aware; swamis and gurus handed down the practice to those eager to learn from them, resulting in yoga surviving to be the practice we know it as today.