As a teacher, of anything really, it’s necessary that we are open to evolve.
As a Yoga teacher, one should expect to shift and transform over the years, as one continues to gain knowledge, self-study, and dive deeper.
The way I teach Asana classes now is wayyyy different than how I was teaching, even just a few years ago.
While I LOVE a creative vinyasa (and will throw one out every now and then), I’m hearing that this isn’t necessarily what folks need right now.
A few experiences that have been shared:
✨ Haven’t moved my body since early 2020
✨ Been soooo stressed out
✨ Been sitting more
✨ Brand new to Asana, or to a studio setting
It’s imperative that we as teachers check in with our students, and teach to who is in front of us.
It may be harmful to push complex shapes, fast-paced vinyasa, or over-stimulating pranayama in many cases, so I’ve learned to loosen up my plan, and evolve my teaching.
1️⃣ Teach to the students who are coming to your classes. I can’t tell you how many times recently I’ve been given valuable info regarding my students in the last minute before class begins. Things like: “I’m brand new” or “my doctor said no forward folds.” Have a loose plan, and be ready to adapt or figure out ways to support the individual’s (hint: all the props)
2️⃣ Give time for intuitive, or explorative, movements. We may not know how we feel until we move around. This also gives you, the teacher, time to observe your students and their patterns of movements.
3️⃣ Utilize invitational language. Drop your should’s and don’t’s Add in: try, maybe, perhaps, if you like
4️⃣ Add dynamic movements before longer holds. This gives students an opportunity to notice their own range of motion, while building strength and stability.
5️⃣ Normalize prop usage. It’s not “cheating” or making the shape “less” than or any other misconceptions about adding support to your yoga practice. As a teacher, demo using props as a way to offer options, and increase likelihood that the props will be used.
6️⃣ Weave in simple themes. This is one easy way to make the class more than just about Asana. A few options: gratitude for breath that is so freely given, I am here now, stability and flexibility, rest as resistance
7️⃣ Assume that everyone attending has experienced trauma. 2020/2021 has been a collective trauma like no other. Understand that while everyone may have been in a similar-ish storm, we did not all have access to the same boat (privilege) in which to navigate the waters. Also, be truthful to your personal limitations. I personally am not a licensed mental health specialist, I can offer resources and do my best to create safe(r) containers through my cues and listening. Be open to receive feedback, and express gratitude for any opportunities to learn.
8️⃣ End class with time to sit - 60 seconds counts. Allow time for a simple reflection, or breathing. Asana = seat Give space to integrate the time spent together. Consider ending with a take-home inquiry, or a meta-meditation to share this ending feeling with the world 💕