A week of Teaching

Last week was a week of teaching. It was challenging but fun. Before this, I have always thought that the job of a yoga teacher is not that difficult. A yoga teacher  just has to be very good with his/her Asanas and s/he will be able to teach a class of 30 – 40 students easily. This week proved me wrong, absolutely wrong.

First challenge was the lesson planning. It was not as easy as I thought. I have to ensure that I have sufficient poses to last for an hour, that there is an objective of having the poses like whether the lesson was intended to prepare the students for a challenging pose, or whether the poses are for building flexibility in the hips or strength in the arms. Sequencing of the poses is an art by itself – not easy to master. Each pose has to be followed with a counter pose and we need to progress from standing poses to supine poses, keeping in mind that students should not be asked to stand and then sit and lie and then stand again. Another challenge was finding the name of poses. Having attended lessons at yoga studios for nearly 2 years, I have a dictionary of poses but…they are just visual without names. For my lesson plans, I have to put a name to the poses I have planned and Google became my best friend 😉

In my first two lessons, I fumbled with the “Inhale” and “Exhale”. How does one remember when to inhale and exhale when you are not doing the pose there and then?! This was definitely not easy, at least not for me. My instructions for Sun Salutation were initially a mess. Now, I think doing an asana is easier than giving instructions. How often does someone said “turn your right feet out, left feet 45 degrees inwards, bend your right knee and inhale, raise your hands”?  At first, I wrote the instructions (exactly the way I wanted to say in class) on my lesson plan and brought it to class. Then, I realised that it was difficult to keep referring to the lesson plan and it was near impossible to remember every instructions, word for word. I came to realise then, that I should not try to remember what I found online. I should instead ask myself “How should I describe this movement? Can I do according to what I say?” If it is a yes, I would think my students will understand as well. One other challenge was time management. A teacher can plan for numerous poses but s/he has to watch the time and adjust the components of the lesson such that the students can get to try the final pose at least in the last 5 min of the lesson.

Throughout the week, I had the opportunity to observe my fellow classmates too. It was very beneficial. I learnt creative poses and techniques from them, and I could definitely model some of the good practice that they did in the lessons. Coming from teaching background, I can say teaching academics and teaching a physical sport/activity is two different ball games. I have now developed a new found respect for my yoga teachers out there.

Jean