How to Teach Yoga

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Nurturing Harmony in a Yoga Class: Individual Considerations

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed How do we go about nurturing harmony in our Yoga classes? According to BKS Iyengar, who is 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, “ [...]

Teaching Balancing Holiday Yoga Classes: Ananda Balasana

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 [...]

Teaching Yoga Outside Fosters Mindful Breath Awareness

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 [...]

Teaching Yoga Classes and Effective Themes

  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 [...]

The Cube of Yoga Instruction

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.

Courage and Teaching Yoga: Sharing your Story

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.

Venturing “Off the Beaten Path” In Yoga

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”.

Improving Yoga Student Safety: Modifying Yoga Poses

Supported Reclining Goddess Pose is usually practiced towards the end portion of a Yoga class, and often just prior to Shavasana. When you are ready to lead your students through the practice of Supported Reclining Goddess Pose, ask your students to place a bolster or rolled blanket near their mat, if they are using the support of a prop today. As they lie down, have them place the Yoga bolster or blanket horizontally across the top of their mat and just underneath their shoulder blades, so that the expansion of their heart is more fully supported in a comfortable fashion.

Exploring Yogic Movement and Stillness

Kinetic energy is energy in motion, stillness converted to movement through transference. It's the dropped ball, the released arrow and the fire's heat. Action then returns to a still point when the ball rests on the ground, the bowstring sits slack and the wood cools into charcoal. In stillness, there is potential; in motion, there is transformation of position or form. These energy principles also exist in yoga, representing the physics of nature and reflecting our inner selves.

Teaching Yoga, Relationships, and Boundaries

Yet, the casual atmosphere of the yoga studio can blur the boundary lines between the teacher and his or her students. Remember that in any student/teacher relationship, there is an imbalance of power, but there can be a balance of compassion. This is something that teachers should be aware of in any setting.