Making the transformation from yoga student to yoga teacher can be intimidating as well as exciting. Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare in advance to teach your first yoga class, you’re sure to encounter a curve ball (or two). To help you avoid some of the common pitfalls, we’ve tapped into our yoga instructor friends and asked them for some advice. Follow these helpful hints for new yoga instructors that will kickstart your teaching journey.
Call attention to breath in every aspect of your yoga instruction. Often students become so focused on their movements or positioning that they forget to breathe. Be sure to remind them to breathe regularly; it helps them be present and into their bodies. Teaching proper breathing is the only way to teach a safe yoga class.
Attend a Beginner Yoga Class
As a new yoga instructor, you’ve developed the knowledge and expertise required to guide others and help them deepen their skill. However, yoga is a continuous learning experience. Prepare yourself for your first class as a yoga instructor by observing several beginner yoga classes. This will allow you to uncover the biggest pain points for new yoga students. In addition, watching how the yoga instructor responds will provide you with some ideas on how to deal with/respond to the challenges yoga newbies experience. Watch their demonstrations, and listen to their explanations; personalize them and repurpose them for your own yoga classes.
Don’t Make “Corrections,” Just Be Supportive
To prevent any awkwardness that might occur after you startle a student with hands-on instruction or adjustments, make an announcement at the beginning of class that you will be lending helpful, light touches to assist with poses, positions and relaxation.TIP: At the beginning of class, ask students to raise their hand if they wish to be supported.
Be the Voice of Reason — Literally
Yoga newbies will listen to your every word as they progress through poses unknown. Speak clearly and promote positive, direct speech throughout class. Arrive at class early, and ensure that everyone can easily see your mat and hear your instructions. Also, keep your sequencing basic until you get more comfortable talking and teaching your own way. Yoga is about bringing awareness to the mind and body. Although each practice is unique, the basic premise is universal: challenge yourself to inspire your yoga students and provide them with a great experience, and they will adapt and evolve to your teaching style, helping you become a better yoga instructor.