As the Yoga Teacher Training is approaching to its end, we are wrapping up our journey by learning how to teach a yoga class as future teachers.
Before doing this exercise myself and preparing my first lesson plan, I did not realize how much work it represents to prepare a yoga class. Until today, I was used to attend yoga classes and let myself go with the teacher’s flow, naturally following the yoga instructor’s cues without putting any thoughts into it.
In fact, to lead to this result where students are smoothly guided throughout their practice without noticing all the stages they go through throughout their practice, there are so many things we need to think of and be aware of as yoga teachers.
A few takeaways from my first ever taught yoga-class are the following:
- Attitude: always put on a smile on your face, it can make the whole difference !
- Voice: tone of your voice should be dynamic and non-monotonous. Ideally try to adjust the tone and volume of your voice to the intensity of the postures you are instructing (put on some cadency and rythm when the poses are more intense, and lower and soften your voice when doing cooling down/relaxing poses)
- Technique: depending on your audience (ultra-beginner/beginner/intermediate/advanced students), give some tips and details on how to do a pose, and share some of you knowledge to make the yoga class as informative as you can (for example, share best practices in terms of breathing or explain the benefits of a specific pose). It is one of the reasons students will come to your class, because they get to learn new things and grow in their practice.
- Sequencing : try to organize your class around a clear structure so that students feel that there is a well-thought gradation and that the practice follows a clear & logical sequencing.
- Transitions: make sure you transition smoothly from a pose to another one. You can use transition poses to help you with that, especially when moving from sitting to standing poses for example.
- Interaction: the key of a successful yoga class lies in the interactions with the students. As a teacher, you should focus on what the students are doing rather than your teaching. It is the best way to bring value to the students: by paying attention to their gestures and movement you can help to adjust them or guide them to go deeper in their practice. As such, try to not do the postures so much, but rather do a demo and then watch the students as they replicate the pose.
- Time: manage your time properly and ensure that the length of your class is in accordance with the duration of the class.
- Fun: last but not least, you should have fun and take pleasure conducting a yoga class. Show your students how happy you are to share this moment with them. This is the secret ingredient/cherry on the cake and probably what will give you the spark that will make you a unique yoga teacher !
As first-time yoga teachers, it is of course difficult to thick all the boxes from day one. It takes time to get more comfortable in this teacher role and to develop your own style. The best way to improve is to practice a lot, teaching to friends & family around you to get their feedback and get more familiar with the exercise, so that you slowly enable the teacher within you to blossom.