Yin-Yin (2/6): Learning to Teach Yoga (Four Weeks into YTT)

The focus of the program is to allow participants to not only deepen their own practice and also potentially become yoga teachers if they choose to. Four weeks into the class, I really enjoyed Yoga Mandala’s Jessica Sinclair and her way of teaching. She’s super detailed in her explanations and patient with her students. She’s also not afraid to push her students to get out of their comfort zones which is a great quality in a teacher. Over the last few weeks I’m learning about the key differences between practicing and teaching yoga.

1) What comes naturally to me may not necessarily come naturally to others. Our bodies and our minds can vary from person to person. Just because something comes naturally to me doesn’t necessarily mean that it will automatically resonate with someone else. For example, because I’ve been practicing yoga for 7 years, I feel quite comfortable with the sun salutation sequence. However, as I was instructing this sequence, my teacher reminded me to mention variations for certain poses for students with limited flexibility. It was then I realized that I had unconsciously assumed variations was universal knowledge. It was a good reminder to plan your classes and instructions with your students (of varying levels) in mind.
2) You may not initially like the way you teach. When I recorded myself teaching a sequence, it didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. I spent most of the time cringing at my yoga or frustrated at the pace. I was a lot cooler in my mind than in real life. Recording myself was super helpful to observe and refine my teaching.
3) There are a lot of different teaching styles. One of our homework assignments 4 weeks into YTT was to teach the sun salutation to our YTT class. As we went around the room of 10+ people, it was interesting to see that even though the sequence was the same, everyone’s approach was unique with different intonation, pace, and details. This was reassuring because it made me realize there isn’t one “correct” way to teach yoga and in fact, I can have fun adding in my own style.