– Regular evolving personal practice. Most of us, I mean yoga teachers, start teaching because we experienced the benefits of yoga practice ourselves and want to share it with the world. Unfortunately, the more classes a yoga instructor teaches the more likely they are to forego their own practice. Not enough time in the day, plus you kind of get some of the asanas in during all the classes while teaching. This becomes an excuse for skipping daily practice for most. As a result the quality of classes eventually goes down and the students feel it. As in any craft, one can’t stay in one place, you either move forward or you are left behind.
– Continuous development as a teacher. Here I mean additional courses, workshops, books, or articles that provide new information and make you a better instructor. If taking workshops is not an option, books and internet serve as a rich resource with a wealth of information. Anatomy deserves special attention from any yoga instructor who strives to provide the fullest and safest experiences for his students. Many 200 hours Teacher training programs barely cover anatomy and quite often yoga teachers rely on their own sensations to guide students. Such classes can be dangerous and lead to injuries for students with a different body type compared to the teacher’s. There is always something more to learn and explore, even if you are an experienced yoga instructor.
Questions to Ponder: When was the last time you had a deep centered and aware practice without the distractions? How did it feel? Do you feel that maintaining your practice makes your classes better? What would you like to learn more about to improve your own practice or your classes?
Example with personal practice: A few weeks ago, I had the most weekly classes since I started teaching. As a result my daily morning practice went from 1.5 hours to 30-40 mins. By the end of the 2nd week of a maintaining a shorter version of my daily yoga routine I felt worn out, tired, and not myself at all. To make it worse, I was less excited to be teaching. Finally, I made a commitment to make my practice a priority. On the 3rd day of getting back to my usual practice I was back to a happy, energy filled self. The change was so drastic that it surprised even me!
Example of continuous development: Jason R. Brown is a creator of Zenyasa yoga and a perfect example of a passionate student. Pursuing his desire to share the benefits of yoga with people of any physical build, he continued to deepen his knowledge of a human body and the effects of asanas. After 10 years of studying anatomy and teaching yoga, Jason decided to share his knowledge with other yoga instructors and created an Anatomy course for Yoga teachers. It is a thorough intense college level course that explores the entire body with its muscular and bone structures. It also covers an important aspect of physiological effects of asanas and asana variations for different body types. The next course starts Sept 21.
Adapting Development and Growth Strategy: Whether you practice on your own or take classes, make it a priority. Be a living example of what yoga produces not a story teller! Find time to read relevant books and articles and maybe take occasional courses or workshops to deepen your knowledge on the subjects that interest you. Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein and A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom are my recent favorites!
My intention: To never forego what makes me so happy and alive – my personal practice! Figure out a way to take anatomy course in the Fall with Jason R. Brown. Join me!
What can you do today, this week, this month to learn something new and become a better instructor for your students?