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April 27, 2015
I am pleased to be teaching mixed level gentle/Hatha yoga classes, I love it and so enjoy carrying the gift of Yoga to so many. One of my classes switched times and now brings some younger yogis to practice who are asking for a "quicker" flow. How do you suggest I practice the gentle slow asanas and pranayamas I am know to teach for half the class and "quicker" flow for the newcomers. Just move thru them faster and inviting those who want to take their time to do so or vice versa????
April 27, 2015
Are Mixed Level Yoga Classes a Good Idea?
Yoga can be a great form of exercise for people of all sizes and abilities. It can be adapted to suit the bodily needs of each practitioner at every level of competence. Ideally, group yoga classes are geared towards a number of people who have similar skill levels and experience. However, at the introductory levels, there is often a large mix of people with a wide variety of yoga experience. Some classes are even deliberately mixed level due to the style or practice of the class. However, are mixed level classes always a good thing?
One downside to mixed level classes is that slower students or those with less experience may struggle to keep up with more seasoned pupils. They may feel frustrated with themselves for not being able to follow along as quickly as others do. This can lead to them leaving the experience and benefits of yoga entirely. They will not be able to learn from other yoga practitioners about what yoga is and how it is beneficial to everyone.
More advanced students may become frustrated if a mixed-level class has a slower pace in order to accommodate new students and check for proper form. They may find that they are not getting the experience they want, and so they will move on. Sadly, this means that they will not learn from their peers, who can offer valuable insight into the benefits of yoga at any skill level.
How can these outcomes be avoided? Are mixed level classes doomed to failure or just mediocrity? The solution lies with the instructor. A good instructor will strive to understand his or her students at any level, and will tailor their course appropriately. Slower, newer students must be able to learn and grow, while more seasoned students must find the experience enlightening and challenging. The instructor sets the course, and the students must follow.
As we can see, mixed level yoga classes are not always a bad thing. Ultimately, whether or not such a class is successful depends on the guidance and tutelage of the instructor. He or she must be able to direct new yoga students without slowing down the class too much for more advanced pupils, and at the same should be able to guide everyone towards the energy control and balanced outlook that yoga can offer. If the instructor feels comfortable with altering the pace and style of the class so that safety can be closely monitored, then he or she can provide a great experience for everyone involved.
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