Teaching to learn

My motivation for undertaking the yoga teacher training course was to deepen my own practice and knowledge; I saw the teaching aspect as a secondary benefit for me. This seemed to be a common theme amongst other students as they introduced themselves on the first day of the course – most aiming to improve their practice, rather than aiming to teach.

I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised that the weekend we first experienced teaching turned out to be so incredibly informative. I was really amazed by how much I learned from doing the teaching myself.

Verbalising my vision (or lesson plan) was challenging because in my mind and body, this process had become almost automatic. Apparently not so for everyone in my small class – students often interpreting my words in totally different ways! The fact that one instruction could produce such differing results was illuminating. I was facing four bodies with varying degrees of prowess in strength, flexibility, balance or endurance. My need to address the various challenges of each individual turned out to be such a rich learning experience.

I learned the necessity to thoroughly break down (especially) the more complex poses in order to address the different needs of each student. This forced me to broaden my own perception of each pose – to think of it in different ways in order to communicate it relevantly to everyone.

This has now started to be reflected in my own practice. I found that being able to draw upon this knowledge allowed me to experience the pose in a different way.

During this short period, I listened with great interest to the numerous styles of teaching. Differing content – and context, style, pace, emphasis and personal slant. I found that hearing instructions expressed in alternative manners elicited different physical responses. I also learned so many tips and techniques that my fellow students shared from their own personal yoga journeys.

My practice has improved dramatically as a result of learning how to teach. What a unexpectedly fabulous ‘extra benefit’ ☺️