Yoganda

Don’t just be a teacher, be a life transformer

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Index

Always more frequently (maybe thanks to 200-hour #yoga teacher training), many people decide to undertake yoga instructor career. But is every teacher a good one? Which requirements a yoga teacher must have?

Without any sort of doubt, the first quality of a good yoga teacher is teaching from the heart, not using the brain, only. Quality such as morality, helpfulness, honesty and compassion must be in every teacher. A teacher must build in their student the right way to cultivate persistence and willpower, without exaggerating, and keep in mind that each body is different.

Showing a positive attitude and treating students like God-sent, are characteristics that the teacher has to keep in mind. Teachers should always use appropriate gestures and body language (for instance, not teaching with crossed arms).

The teachings have to be directed to the whole class and no only those at the front. Not talking too much about asana is advisable, as students get distracted. Imitate mistakes of students, helps to learn how to correct them.

The first quality of a good yoga teacher is teaching from the heart, not using the brain, only. Quality such as morality, helpfulness, honesty and compassion must be in every teacher.

DEMONSTRATION

A good teacher knows how to demonstrate asanas and instruct students how to get there (considering age and other factors, such as body limits), helping them to overcome fears.
A visual demonstration is better than explanation. Remembers that students imitate teachers, as a child imitates the mother. Showing asanas 2-3 times is always advisable, likewise keeping a position that allows students to see you

CLASS ORGANISATION

While demonstrating asanas, is a good way to mirror your students. Try to position tallest students at the back and shortest at the front. Organise a class according to students capabilities.

Do not show preference to anyone. Acceptance and compassion are keywords, peeps!

PRESENTING ASANAS

Demonstrate accurately and show clearly what students have to do, they don’t listen to long explanations. Don’t let their body get cool and keep their mind alert. To understand asanas properly, ask students to do asana twice. In the beginning, especially, repetition is more important than duration First show, then do asana with them Adjust yourself during teaching

VERBAL INSTRUCTION

Use appropriate words, such as extend, elongate, stretch, tighten… Don’t go on if students do incorrect asana or not made corrections The instruction must not contain too many points or be too fast Give verbal instructions while the students are in the asana

IMPORTANCE OF VOICE

Your voice must be heard from all the students, be clear and commanding. Be like an actor on stage. Be loud! Modulate your voice accordingly to energise or relax the class Keep instructions simple, use short and clear sentences. When teaching, you must experience the asana first

OBSERVING THE BREATHING OF STUDENTS

Give appropriate instruction regarding inhaling – exhaling. Remember them to breathe during asanas, not retaining the breath (unless you are teaching Kumbhaka). Check that they don’t breath through the mouth but only through the nostrils.

PRECISION IN TEACHING

  • Work on yourself and then correct students.
  • Be clear in explaining the techniques, also develop a sense of directions while teaching asana (at the back, from the side…).
  • You must observe and correct the students in an accurate manner.
  • When giving instructions, ask yourself if you understand your own.
  • Do not force students with a stiff body.
  • Pick up a common mistake and correct it
  • None should feel they cannot do a particular asana. If a student is scared to do an asana, give courage (but respect their fears and body limits)
  • Observe that all students have performed asana

PROPS

You should be competent in using props. You must be aware of the reason to use props (increase confidence, awareness of the alignment, duration of staying in the asana and help to achieve asanas)

HOW TO HANDLE COMMON PROBLEMS

Understand that any student has a different body. Stop them to perform if you see tremors in their legs and arms, or see they have red eyes and skin.

Observe your students and see if they are lazy, stiff or has a fear complex. Do not force stiff students, but help them improve their mobility. Observe their face and eyes if express pain, stress, fatigue.

Consideration and respect for student’s age are important. Be aware of their limitations and introduce resting asanas, which cool the brain. Weak students, should do Uttanasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana after each standing asana.

Yoga is a science, a long journey and a mental discipline, for both students and teachers. A good teacher must keep studying, reading books, attend courses and ask to senior teachers and masters. You are in charge of a life changing experience for all your students and for yourself. As one of my teacher (thanks Iftekar) told me during my training: “remember, don’t be a teacher, be a transformer!”

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