Tips On How To Teach Yoga Classes For Beginners
Beginner yoga classes, like all other classes, present unique challenges. The students will know very little or nothing about yoga practice and probably have not made a practice of staying limber. For many students, the entire purpose of taking up yoga is to improve their flexibility and health. Experienced Yoga practitioners, for all their knowledge, do not necessarily know how to teach yoga classes for beginners. There are some tried and true practices that ease the transition for both students and instructors.
Arrive Ahead of Time
Waiting makes many people tense and beginner yoga students must also confront a new environment. Arriving early gives the instructor time to greet students, which cuts down on tension, and provide students with a quick overview of the space. The instructor can help students organize themselves, their mats, and any other equipment to provide adequate room to move.
While no instructor can avoid yoga terms, such as asana, most jargon has an English equivalent that students can recall. For example, Surya Namaskar may be the correct term, but Sun Salutation is easier to say and remember. Students who continue on in yoga can always learn the original names and terms, but too much jargon drives driving away beginners. The same holds true for anatomy. While the instructor may possess a fairly comprehensive understanding of anatomy and anatomical terms, most students will not share that knowledge. Saying the word shoulders communicates the relevant part of the body to everyone, while the word trapezius will not and may even alienate students.
No amount of enthusiasm makes up for limited flexibility and endurance. Complicated sequences that repeatedly drive students from the floor, up, and back down again test the limits of flexibility and endurance. Simplifying sequencing forces the instructor to focus on the essentials, which benefits beginner students. It is easier to add new postures to a simple sequence that does not challenge a class enough than to rethink a complicated one that is too difficult.
Brush Up On Adjustments
Inexperience puts beginner students at higher risk for injury, which makes adjustments a critical element of teaching beginner classes. Instructors should make it a priority to brush up on adjustments, by working with another instructor or by attending a class or workshop. Practicing ways to deliver verbal adjustments in simple language streamlines the process and makes it easier for the instructor to recall when working with students.
Move Through the Room
The front of the room is the place to demonstrate postures and offer general instructions, but moving through the room helps an instructor get a closer read on students. Spotting an incorrect posture and offering quiet adjustments proves much easier at a distance of two feet than fifteen feet. Moving through the room also helps to break down the sense of the instructor as an unapproachable figure and that encourages beginner students to ask their questions.
Teaching beginning yoga students challenges many yoga instructors. Beginner students come to class with limited or nonexistent knowledge about yoga and uncertain levels of flexibility. While these challenges are real, instructors can overcome those challenges through a combination of simplification of sequences and language, brushing up on fundamentals and moving through the room.