“Your Mat is Your Biggest Mirror."
Walking out of the blistering cold and into teacher’s training this weekend was a breath of fresh air. Workshop #7 provided the structure I crave and the logistics in how to accomplish it. Melanie, the senior teacher presenting the content at this workshop, not only provided the details but also with handouts!
I’ve died and gone to heaven! Now this is what I’m talking about!
All kidding aside, I found the content necessary as yoga classes are not fitness classes. Sure, they are similar. But I needed to learn how to run an effective and suitable class for students.
To begin with, we had a discussion about ‘seeing who is in front of you’ in class. Particular questions to ask even before starting are:
What are you wanting to offer?
Will the class be a drop in or a registered class?
What level do the students need to be proficient at?
No, not always perfect answers to these questions. But at least having an understanding who you will be teaching, will help dictate how and what you teach. And most importantly see who is in front of you in your class.
The lesson plan is important but not so important that you can change it on the fly. Improvising, as I’d like to call it. It is however important that you do give an outline of what to expect to new students and provide a comfortable and welcoming space. Offer the lead yet not so much that they don’t feel it in their own bodies.
‘Let them feel and move in their own bodies’.
I don’t think it was until this workshop that I really, no REALLY understood what the breath tells yoga teachers in class. The opportunity to listen to the students breathing can tell you if they are listening to their bodies (strong, rhythmic breath) versus not (short or even non-existent breath). Breath is a key to assess for ease. And thus, try and teach student to self-adjust with lots of options via verbal and visual cues to allow them the most ease in their bodies.
An interesting approach, which I will use in our forever striving world and thriving (or not) society is this: demonstrate with someone who will say ‘no’ to show the other students that it is okay to say ‘no’.
I also appreciated the hints of how to assess beginners on day one, class one. Cue the students while lying on their backs to bend their knees and place their feet on the mat if they have any low back pain. Instantly you can see who in the class has low back pain. Further, cue the option to support the neck with a folded blanket under the head. Those who place a blanket under the head show you as the teacher that they may have some neck issues.
More ingenious tips and tricks!
Being very practical, this workshop definitely helped me think how best to flow a yoga class while setting a peaceful space for beginners. I feel more confident in my ability to design an effective lesson plan and implement it!
How fitting was the intention of this workshop was to help student “find comfort in their discomfort”. When in fact, I found my comfort in my discomfort when thinking about the daunting task to designing a class and teaching it!
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.