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As a yoga teacher, one of the most important skills you should master is the ability to teach who is in front of you.
I don’t know about you, but I still get nervous teaching, especially in a new studio or in front of students who are new to me. I strive to create an experience that the majority of students will enjoy, and that can put quite a bit of pressure on a teacher.
So, what happens when you have planned your class out and then the students in front of you don’t fit into the class you’ve prepared?
1. TEACH TO THE BEGINNER //
When I teach, I will seek out the most beginner person in the class and teach to them. It’s better to have your more advanced students re-evaluate their alignment and focus on their breath rather than have the beginner so frustrated by their experience that they never want to come back.
You may want to adjust the sequence you created by offer more modifications or even adjusting your peak pose if you had one. One of your warm-up poses may become your peak pose!
2. OFFER MODIFICATIONS & VARIATIONS //
When I teach, I offer a mid-level option, modified option and will speak to more advanced options if their are yogis in the group who are itching for more. The great thing with advanced yogis is that they know their bodies and their practice, so give them the permission to play and they will, whereas new yogis are thirsty for your instruction and guidance, so speak to them!
Use your warm up to gauge the level of yogis in the room and start with your modifications, eventually moving on to the more advanced options. This gives all students an opportunity to warm up and to know the modifications if they choose to take them at any point during the class.
3. DEMO WITH PROPS //
I have noticed that when I speak to using props, almost no one actually uses them, but if I demo the move with props, almost half the class will use their props. I also like to tell people that using their props doesn’t make them any less of a yoga. Blocks and props are to bring the Earth closer to us as well as to help support the asanas (poses).
4. READ THE ROOM //
This comes with practice. Some students always look bored, but at the end of class will tell you how much they enjoyed the class. I call this look “resting yoga face”. I know a lot of my students and will look to my more expressive students to see how they are doing with the sequence.
Don’t be afraid to ask too. After our warm up I like to check in and see how everyone is doing. This also lets your students know that you are in the room with them! If students look bored, over-worked or frustrated, ask them how they are doing, give them an opportunity to give feedback.
5. DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY //
Honestly, I would rather a teacher who messes up to laugh, regroup and keep going, then get flustered and embarrassed. We are all human. As yoga teachers, we are present to lead, to support, and to encourage our students, not to be perfect.
Play the music you enjoy, teach the poses you enjoy, and teach at locations you enjoy. Find your tribe and you’ll always have a great time teaching!
Do you read the room and adjust your teaching accordingly? Please share in the comments!
Light & Love
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