Read Before The Next Time You Teach Yoga!
Great job, you’ve mapped it all out!
You’re super excited to teach.
You’ve taken the teacher training
You’ve scheduled an online yoga class
You’ve created the playlist
You’ve drawn epiphanies on which theme you want to teach
You’ve prepared and prepared and prepared some more
You’ve created your sequences
You’ve rolled out your mat to learn the sequence in your body
It’s not exactly ingrained in our culture and society what the next steps are after a yoga teacher training, which pretty much means you have an open layout for designing your career. But if you’re anything like me 12 years ago, you might have benefitted from reading a blog about what it means to be a yoga teacher on your own terms.
So you’re all prepared.
You get to class, aanndd….
You forget it alllllllll!!!!!
Newsflash: we all black out the first time teaching, congratulations on your first black out. Welcome to the clerb. I bet even actresses who take up teaching yoga black out the first couple times, and they have the front and center skillz.
Pretty much on the fly, you just made up a class. As you went along. As soon as you took one look at that classroom, your mind went blank, you taught a couple poses but then all of a sudden, you felt like you were on cloud nine, connecting and jiving with each student, sharing wisdoms in the moment and cracking jokes.
…but also you just taught a completely made up class.
How are you supposed to remember a class like that?
And this is essentially the carrot you chase now. You want your students to be affected by your teaching. You want to take them to that very same sweet surrender that kept you coming back to yoga. But howwww????
Why couldn’t you remember everything you memorized and trained for?
The answer’s not super straightforward.
But the main reason is you CARE.
You maybe didn’t think every single, solitary word you planned for class mattered in the moment.
And also your whole heart’s in it.
Let’s dive deeper. There might be two main reasons why you blacked out.
One, you don’t have the imprint of teaching in your mind. You don’t have the experience yet of being present and delivering a sequence, which can only come with time.
Two, you didn’t know who’d come to class and with what circumstances.
Now, there’s only one person that can get the imprint of having taught yoga into your mind (YOU) I can’t give you the imprint of having taught.
What I can do is help you prepare to teach any BODY!
Being prepared to teach depends on who you are as a teacher. The following is a series of questions to help you understand who you are as a teacher.
- Teach from what you know by being present in the experience of practicing when you’re in your teacher’s classes. Put all of your favorite cues into your own words because that’s how you’ll translate your craft to your students the best.
- What words do you want to use to describe certain poses? Clearly and elegantly define how you’ll say things and essentially secure your brand as a teacher.
Draw up a spreadsheet. List the multiple ways you want them to feel. Create a word bank based on how you want your students to feel.
What words describe the sequence you’ve created overall? What is the ultimate feeling you want your students to walk away with at the end of class?
Based on the class description, do you think students should feel energized, calm, or more focused at the end of class?
You Could Also
Create 6 classes, using a similar layout.
Putting these six signature classes together will help you over and over down the road.
Make another list of cue descriptors for each sequence you create and reread them right before you teach! Use active verbs, when you cue. Words like Flip back to three legged plank pose – Extend your right heel straight back. Knit your low ribs in and Engage your core
Write it down RIGHT when you’re inspired. Grab your phone. Draw up an email. Grab your journal. Anywhere, it doesn’t matter how disorganized just that you start and let the fountain gush. Your creativity will never run out. Pinky promise.
For a pre-made spreadsheet and instructions on how to organize this info, sign up on emails here. It’s tedious now but you’ll thank me in twelve years.
Practice it! You can choose to memorize the sequence and say it out loud on your way to work or when you have free time. You can record the sequence on the voice memos app on your phone if you have an iPhone.
Interact with your students while teaching. Wait for them to get into the pose, and breathe with them as they’re moving through the sequence you created for them. And if they are not doing a pose, it is for sure your job (which I believe if you’re reading this you’ve already taken responsibility for) to identify why they’re interpreting it a different way than you intend.
It mainly comes down to language and I encourage you to come up with ways to show them how to interpret your teaching. A quick way to show students what you mean is to quick demo the position, use direct language when cueing and speak with your body language when not demoing. If they see you hold yourself calmly and confidently, that’s exactly how they will feel.
Ultimately , the classes you teach will gel over time as you teach them.
The sequences that you teach over and over again will become second nature and will loop in your brain on repeat once you teach them a few times. Memorize sequences in linking ‘chunks’ using memory exercises, such as ‘chunking’. Chunking is a short term memory strategy used to memorize small, manageable pieces of information, to later remember a larger series of information or, in our case, pose sequences.
Get out there and start teaching! The more you teach, the more easy it will be to remember sequences and build on them.