On the 6th Saturday of YTT at Tirisula, Masters asked us to prepare three lesson plans and submit the ultra beginner plan by the next Friday. OH MY GOD, teaching time came finally! I had been enjoying getting input from masters for past few weeks. To balance it out, we have to teach.
I spent time thinking about the sequence and verbal cues. I even wrote down long-winded instructions that I want to say during teaching and emailed masters. To have a feel of teaching, I found an ultra beginner to try my 1 hour lesson. In my first ever teaching session, 1 hour lesson is dragged to 2 hours because I kept adjusting the alignment AND he had too much to adjust! OMG, both of us were exhausted after the ‘class’ !! My first ever student then gave me some feedback and we felt better in the next practice.
We are divided into a group of five and took turn to teach. Our first lessons were fun, we learnt a lot from each other. We gave suggestions and comments after every class. As a yoga teacher, we should learn to receive good and bad with opened heart.
I was nervous before teaching. However, once I stepped onto teacher’s mat, I felt calm. Maybe that is the magic of yoga.
Masters then asked us to design another lesson for beginner and teach on the next day. We had less than one day for preparation. That taught us to be versatile.
Teaching methodology shared by masters consists of D (Demo), I (Instruct), C (Count), A (Adjust/Assist) as shown below.
D for Demostrate
• You will show student how to enter and exit the pose with physical movement. Student will take you as reference and move accordingly. Therefore, it is important to build up a consistent practice to make sure that we have the correct and stable alignment.
• Make sure we breathe well and have the right dristhi during demo.
• Every pose can be a beginner or intermediate pose. Be creative and modify the practice for different levels.
I for Instruct
• Remember to drink water to prevent dehydration after teaching. I felt so thirsty after teaching for just half an hour.
• You will lead the student into the pose by using words. The instructions need to be direct and clear.
• Lead student to exit from the pose is essential. Guide them to move their body part back to neutral position safely and slowly.
• For example on forward bend, we instruct them to fold forward from the hip, belly to the thigh, chest to the knee, forehead to the shin. After holding for few breaths, we guide them to lift up the forehead from shin, lift the chest, lift the belly and slowly come up to Tadasana.
• Use appropriate voice tone when teaching different class type. You will not want to hear lullaby during core class.
C for Count
• We can achieve better if we set a target, so ask students to stay on the pose while we are counting.
• Remind them to breath with your count. Hold the pose but not the breath. Ujjayi breathing can help improves concentration during asana practice and allow us to remain in the poses for longer period of time.
• Give them verbal cues while counting may lead them to go deeper into the pose. During forward bend, inhale, lengthen the spine, exhale, fold yourself forward more.
A for Adjust/Assist
• This is one of the reason we choose to attend yoga lesson instead of online class. When we are practising, it is hard to pinpoint our own problem. Yoga teachers can help to identify whether you are engaging the correct muscle, do you square the hips or hyperextend your elbow etc. I feel more connected to the teacher when they adjust or assist me.
• Parivrtta Pasvakonasana is never an easy pose but I can turn my upper body more when my top hand wrap around Master Paalu back. It is such a yummy twist!
• Be aware and listen to the breath and body of your student. If they do not resist your adjustment and can still breathe deeply, then I think you are doing the right thing. All students are equal, so remember to cover as many students as possible.
• Making too many adjustments in 1-hour class can be exhausting for you and your students. Felt it during my first ever informal yoga teaching session!
• Keep students well-aligned before helping them to deepen into the pose. No point pushing their back forward in Paschimottanasana if their back is already rounded during Dandasana. Begin with sitting on a block to keep spine straight in Dandasana.
• Practice, practice and practice so that you can understand the pose more and give suitable adjustments to different body type.
Stay true, we can teach better only when we are teaching with our heart.
Stay humble, most of the time, students also teach and inspire us. Teach to learn, and learn to teach.
So… Am I ready to teach after YTT?
Su Yan ^.^
YTT200 Sept Weekend 2017
“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.” B.K.S. Iyengar