After experiencing teaching this morning (and from my experiences of being a yoga student for many years), I feel that the way an instructor conducts a class is the most important factor to enhance a student’s enjoyment, such as:
- Personality of the instructor (calm, soothing and reassuring, confident and approachable)
- Tone and voice of instructor (assertive yet encouraging, loud and clear voice)
- Overall pace of the lesson (comfortable, steady pace – students should be able to follow and still be challenged)
- Clear instructions that are easy to understand and follow (regardless of class type)
- Knowledge of teacher (able to provide information on certain asanas performed eg. how it aids digestion)
- Checking on individual student and making sure they are okay (and breathing)
- Flowing sequence and suitable asanas (students are physically challenged but not pushing them till there is risk of an injury)
- Flexibility of changing the lesson plan anytime (modify the postures accordingly for different students)
Yoga, traditionally, is an individual practice. Even if the yogi is to learn from a Guru, the guru will not spoon feed you and tell you instructions on how to do the asanas or pranayama. For Ashtanga Yoga, in Mysore (a place in India), no instructions are given during the asana (yoga poses) practice. Practitioners are do perform a set of about 70+ yoga poses in a continuous flow, and the guru will adjust and correct.
It is a quiet practice. All you hear is the sound of oceanic breaths, called Ujjayi breathing, plus the sounds of landing on the feet from an uncontrolled practitioner. Sometimes the rhythm of the breaths can be so mesmerizing, that brings you into a calm mode, amidst the challenging asanas.
The most important thing of the asana practice is to go inward, focusing on your breath, gaze and bandha (lock), which is 180 degrees different from what is happening currently in the common Yoga classes in Singapore and the region.
Yoga is to help you go inwards.
In most gyms and fitness centres, Yoga became a dance or aerobics dancing class, where you have huge mirrors and music. Plus a nanny Yoga instructor who nags at you, instructing you specifically what to do. For students who doesn’t use their ears, they rely on a Yoga demonstrator to perform all the yoga poses and they follow. When there is no demonstration, they become lost.
The mirrors can be very distracting as you will find yourself staring at yourself half the time, and the other half the time, looking at other people, comparing yoga poses, are you the best or worst.
Do the students learn anything from that monkey see monkey do ‘yoga’ class? No! (Only a few intelligent ones do) Basically, they don’t use their brain to remember or recall anything. They awareness may not be in their own body to remember the bodily positions that they have held 1 hour ago. There may be too many postures done for beginners to remember the whole sequence. (Sometimes, this is the trick used by more Yoga instructors, so that their students can keep coming back, instead of letting them go for their individual practice. Show them 1000 moves so that they don’t recall any single move)
This ‘Yoga’ brings your attention outwards.
I find that this is not the proper way to teach Yoga. This is very misleading and because of publicity and marketing, common man choose to believe that the ‘Yoga’ is the right way to go. I want to clear up the misunderstanding as much as possible, therefore, we came up with this program:
Yoga for Self practice course (click the link for more details)
This is the most value for money investment that you can make for your own health. The course is not cheap, cheap things cannot be good. If you were to compare this investment to the time taken you need to travel from your house to a yoga studio, the class fees you have to pay, the transport cost, the time taken to travel from yoga studio to work place for 1 year, this course is definitely worth it. What’s most important is to learn the right things and not to damage your body.
That’s all for now. Time for me to go inward.