Yoga Yoga-Diary

The Art of Teaching – The first Yoga Class

seychelles

Namasté Yogis, readers and friends :)

Oh, some exciting things happened during the last two weeks.

First of all – I taught my first 3 Yoga classes at a studio last week. Ever.

I was so nervous, I felt like experiencing a total breakdown the hours before my first class. I panicked and waited for that big black hole to swallow me.
But the second I started the class it almost went easily. As if I had done it several times before. A deep breath can help so much.

It’s a tingling feeling to stand in front of all these people who are looking at you with big and expectant eyes. I felt naked, tense and completely on my own in that first moment. But somehow this feeling of raw vulnerability was a great experience, too. I couldn’t hide behind a role at all, I simply had to rely on being myself in that moment. One deep, grounding breath and I let all the tension flow out of my body and inhaled lots of love and excitement for the people in front of me. I wanted them to feel safe and well, and relaxed after class.

Somehow I led them through different Asanas (it was a beginner’s class) and explained step by step and let them experience a first little easy flow. When I led them into Savasana, giving each one of them a short massage, I felt complete and content.
The feedback that I got right after the class was truly heartwarming and made me happy, too: my students seemed to enjoy my class. What a relief!

My second and third class with different students and levels went well, too, and I was definitely less nervous than the first time. I was prepared and had a plan in mind what I wanted to do. I combined some anatomical elements with a special intention for each 90 minutes, and the classes also went well.

I already realized now that teaching truly is a form of art – so many elements need to be put together right on time, so many things need to be thought about and also a little talent for improvisation is needed. The people who come to a Yoga class are in different state of minds. Some are calmer, some are stressed out. Some are very mobile and flexible, some are not at all. Your job is to make all of them them feel safe and well. They want to relax, move their body and get away from everyday life and leave with a feeling of wellbeing after class. So my responsibility as a Yoga teacher is to lead them into that state of mind where they can connect to their inner self, where they can relax and be totally present with themselves for the next one and a half hours.

 

For all my fellow ongoing Yogateachers-to-be, based on my experience:

My 10 tips on how to survive your first Yoga-Class

  1. Stay calm. :) Take a very deep and long breath right before class, ground yourself and tune in to the energy that you want to pass to your students. The hardest part of a journey always is the first step. After that it’s going to be more easy.
  2. Greet every single student and introduce yourself. Build a connection and don’t necessarily tell them that it’s your first class. Why should they need to know? This just builds tension ans makes everybody more nervous, mainly you.
  3. Smile and look each student into the eyes. Spread some good vibes and give your students the feeling of being at a safe place.
  4. Give your students plenty of time to really ‘arrive’ on their mats. Exercise some breathing techniques, start with an easy meditation to let their minds calm down.
  5. Be confident! You are going to be fine, no matter what – students won’t eat you… :) Keep in mind: they don’t come to class to see you, they come to class because they want to be present with themselves. You got a blackout? Let your students take a deep breath in child’s pose or downward dog for a moment and take a look at your script. Even the most experienced teachers need to improvise sometimes or foregt something. We’re humans – it’s OK.
  6. Be prepared! But don’t make too many notes beforehand – less is more. Take some short notes before class about what you want to teach, maybe even draw some little figures to ‘find’ them quickly when you need to take a look at your script. You won’t find the next step if your paper is a jungle of notes.
    Also: always have a plan B in mind – what if your students aren’t able to do that flow that you prepared so specifically?
  7. Watch your time – 90 minutes are over in a moment, so better plan less flows and be more precisely about alignment. But also have some extra-Asanas in mind if you need to change your plan spontaneously.
  8. Your students won’t notice your nervousness as much as you do. Of course you shouldn’t be jumpy, but usually you feel worse than the students experience it. Just be yourself and don’t try to copy a style from another teacher. Laugh and go on!
  9. Be grateful and thank your students for spending time with you at the end of every class.
  10. Keep on! Yoga teachers will remain students for life, too! There is no finish line. Look for inspiration and practice, practice, practice.

 

So I’m going to teach a ‘Relax’ Yoga class on a regular basis every week now, which I’m very fond of. I’m still a little nervous (of course), but the feeling of excitement is stronger and I’m looking forward to that new part of my journey.

That’s all for now. I feel grateful.

Enjoy the springtime, enjoy the sun, enjoy life <3
Elaine

 

Photo by Black Spirit X (www.bsx-world.com)
Bracelets by Isabelle Gloria Design (availale soon!)

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Shawon
    July 30, 2016 at 4:39 AM

    Loved this article. I am a 200 rys as well. Tonigjt I just taught my 3rd yoga class and I was still a little nervous. I didn’t mix up right and left. Lol! I finished mt sequence with 10 minutes to spare so I did a 6 minute savasana. I think I will extend it next time to ten minutes. Not sure though. Anyway loved your post and good luck on your yoga journey! Namaste.

    • Elaine
      Reply
      Elaine
      July 30, 2016 at 9:59 AM

      Hello Shawon!

      Thanks a lot for your feedback! Glad to hear that you liked my article.
      Great that you just started teaching! It’s an amazing experience, and truly challenging, and left and right isn’t always easy to be clear about.. : )

      I’ve been teaching since April now and the thing with the timing gets easier with every flow you prepare.
      You could combine your Savasana with a light led Yoga Nidra or even a little massage for each student. Until now I never met anyone who didn’t seem to like that… Just ‘tune’ into the energy of your class a little and you will intuitively feel what they might want to have.

      I wish you lots of joy on your Yoga journey, too!
      Namasté, Elaine

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