Being a Yoga Teacher is more than a profession. It is a passion. However, often you might be confused why your class is not effective. Here are the 6 biggest Yoga Teacher’s mistakes in a class and how to fix them right now.
1. Thinking of Yoga class as a performance
Your teaching is not a performance. It is a practice of teaching. It can go wrong. You will make mistakes. Often your cues might be wrong or the asana name may be wrong or there is something that is not right. It is completely fine.
Do not treat your teaching as performing on stage. Most often your students like the Yoga teacher ‘who is more human, less robot with perfection’.
Tip: Enjoy the teaching. Tell yourself that it is okay to make mistakes and be ready to laugh at your mistakes if they occur during the class.
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2. Combining your practice with teaching
You might have done this before. You get so many yoga classes to teach that you will end up planning to practice while you teach. It is not a good idea. You should not be practising while you teach.
Your students are coming to your class assuming that you will observe, assist and help them deepen their practice. If you are practising on your mat while teaching, then it is nothing more than a Youtube video.
It is an injustice to your students. It may also often lead to injuries as you are unable to focus on your practice.
Tip: Keep your personal yoga practice outside the teaching and focus on teaching.
3. Allowing late students
This is one of the main issues of every yoga teacher. Should you allow latecomers or not? I strongly believe that you should not.
First of all, they enter late and then start the warm-up which disturbs the class. If they come late and start following your teaching, they are not warmed up enough. They may not be able to enjoy the class because they are late to the class.
Tip: You may lose some students because of this. But it is worth it in the long run. Your students will eventually realize that they will miss the class if they are late to the class.
4. Teaching from the mat
Never stay on the mat longer. If you stay on your mat and offer cues to your students, the energy of the class decreases. Slowly you will see the students losing interest and getting tired of the class.
Tip: Move around while you teach, enhancing the energy and practice of the students. This allows you to focus on the verbal cues and voice modification too.
5. Assuming Alignment of asana is one-size-fits-all
During Yoga Teacher Training, you might have learnt about the alignments. Alignments include how to practice an individual asana, how the physical position should be etc.
However, it is not the same for everyone. There is always a general alignment cue and then it depends on each individual’s physical structure and capabilities.
For example, Tadasana is to keep the feet together from the general alignment viewpoint. You might have to keep your student’s knees apart when the thighs are bigger than the shin bones. Yoga is not a mass practice. It is an individual practice. There is no one-rule-fits-for-all here in yoga practice.
Tip: Always try to analyze the student’s practice and find what’s needed for an individual’s growth. Use techniques to teach the student, instead of teaching the techniques.
6. Appreciation and Criticism in the class
It is a difficult one. Your students will be motivated if you appreciate whereas constructive criticism helps the students to grow.
However, it is ideal not to do both during the running class. If you appreciate a specific student, the other student next to him/her would be putting in the same/more hard work and not getting appreciated. This student may be demotivated.
This is applicable to the criticism also. People come with different backgrounds and different daily challenges. You may not be knowing the life and turmoil they are facing inside.
Tip: When you move around, stand next to the student whom you want to appreciate. Appreciate it without taking the name of the student. The student gets to know that it is directed towards me.
Emphasize the mistakes your student is making as general instruction. When you repeat the cues, most often your student will get to know.
Did you make any of these in your yoga class? What’s your most repeated mistake? Let us know in the comments.