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Tag Archives: yoga teaching tips

Episode 138: The Art of Teaching Asana to Beginners

We all start out as beginners. But that doesn’t mean that teaching beginning yoga students is intuitive. In this episode of our Begin Again series, Jason tackles the specifics of teaching asana to beginning students. Jason shares:

* Why it’s important to help students pay attention to their whole experience in a particular pose, not just the muscle or muscle groups that they’re stretching

* How to help students avoid comparing themselves to other students (or to what they were able to do in the past if they’re beginning again after stepping away for a while)

* A skillful way to teach breath and movement in a vinyasa-based class

* Why power, precision, and mindfulness are the three elements Jason focuses on most when he teaches beginners

RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Episode 136: Yoga Philosophy for Beginners

Episode 135: Jason’s Tips for Teaching Beginners (And Beginning Again)

The Art of Teaching Beginners Course with Jason

WRITE A YOGA PODCAST REVIEW

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

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Episode 136: Yoga Philosophy for Beginners

In this second episode of our Begin Again series, we talk about what keeps us motivated to practice when yoga is feeling stagnant and Jason offers useful tips for teachers who are faced with the difficult (but rewarding!) task of teaching yoga to beginners.

He also talks about how to introduce philosophy to beginning students and how to motivate students to keep coming back to their mats.

Here’s an overview of the episode:

* Why beginning again can be a great thing even for experienced yoga practitioners

* Some common mistakes yoga teachers make when they teach beginners

* How to approach teaching philosophy to beginners in a way that doesn’t confuse or overwhelm

* How he navigates sharing the philosophical dimensions of yoga so that they are useful to everyone regardless of their cultural and ideological belief systems

* Tips for being a good host to new students and why he thinks that’s a key component to keeping students motivated

*BONUS: Jason explains some of the yamas and niyamas and puts them into a modern context


RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Episode 135: Jason’s Tips for Teaching Beginners (And Beginning Again)

How to Leave a (Positive!) Podcast Review (Hint, Hint!)

Coming Soon! The Art of Teaching Beginners Course with Jason

Episode 117: Jason’s Favorite Non-Asana Yoga Books

WRITE A YOGA PODCAST REVIEW

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

SHOUT-OUT TO OUR SPONSORS

1. LOLA is a female-founded company offering 100 organic cotton tampons, pads, and liners. For every purchase, LOLA donates feminine care products to homeless shelters across the U.S. For 40% off all subscriptions, visit mylola.com and enter the code YOGALAND40 when you subscribe.

2. Care/of is a monthly subscription vitamin service made from high, quality ingredients personally tailored to your exact needs. Their short quiz asks you about your diet, health goals, and lifestyle choices and uses these answers to create personalized vitamin packs just for you. For 50% off your first month of personalized care/of vitamins, visit takecareof.com and enter promo code YOGALAND50.

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Survivor’s Guide to Teaching Yoga When Life Throws You a Curveball

Yoga Teaching Tips for When Life Throws You a Curveball
Nearly six years ago, my daughter Sofia-Rose was born. She brought me happiness I could have never imagined. She also obliterated my home practice beyond all recognition for more than a year.

Before she was born, I was so hopped-up on adrenaline, oxytocin, and optimism (not always my strength) that I didn’t think her birth would change my practice. In fact, I was delusional enough to think that her birth would inspire even greater dedication to my practice. I thought her presence would be my shot at a complete renewal, a total overhaul in which nothing could get between my mat and me.

Yes, I love her to the point that it makes me tremble. Yes, parenting has taught me more about patience, breath, and love than the rest of my life combined. No, I wouldn’t trade her for the world. But did my practice stay the same? [email protected]#l no! Not even close. My asana practice crumbled to a shell of its former self and I grew a Dad-bod like you wouldn’t believe. Even more to the point of this post, my teaching temporarily suffered with these changes. Now, it’s better than ever since I have more life experience to draw on (and I’ll share some of the yoga teaching tips I learned below). But, I didn’t see this at the time.

Everyone goes through different chapters in life. Everyone faces curveballs. And, like a good curveball, you usually don’t see them coming. Being a yoga practitioner and yoga teacher doesn’t inoculate you from life. It just provides you with insight and skills that help you manage the complexity of the human condition.

Since we all face unforeseen circumstances from time to time that affect our practice and teaching, it’s important to know how to stay honest and authentic in your teaching when your life gets (even more) complicated.

Here are some practical yoga teaching tips to work with:

1. Don’t Press Too Hard

When baseball players are in a slump, they sometimes perpetuate it further by pressing—or, becoming overly eager to make something happen. This undermines their ability to relax and respond to the game in a skillful way. I’ve noticed the same thing in myself at times. When my teaching becomes stale, I often overcompensate by trying too hard. I get too wordy, too complicated, and too hurried.

If you’re going through a challenging phase in your teaching, try this tip instead: Step back slightly and let the practice shine. Minimize the impulse to overdo and trust that the practice itself will be enough for your students.

See also 5 Ways to (Re)Inspire Your Yoga Practice

2. Be Transparent Without Being Overly-Indulgent

Never make class about you and what you’re going through. After all, the students are paying you—you’re not paying them for group therapy. At the same time, it’s nice to be relatively transparent and to acknowledge what’s happening in your life (at least in limited doses). Students appreciate the reminder that you’re a real, flesh and blood person—and, that yoga is a practical, accessible practice for everyone (at all times). It’s likely that many of your students have experienced what you’re currently going through and this may help them connect to your teaching even more deeply.

3. Don’t Radically Change Your Class or Teaching Style

It’s important to be consistent with your students. When teachers go through a significant transition in their lives, they sometimes make abrupt stylistic changes to their teaching. While it’s important to be relatively transparent, it’s also essential to provide a consistent experience for your students. If you’re a teaching a vinyasa class, don’t randomly teach a Yin or restorative class because you’re tired or overwhelmed. Sure, you can play with the pace, but be responsive to your students and provide them with the class that they came for.

4. Practice – Even If It Looks Very Different Now

My practice was shorter, milder, less frequent, and less focused for 18-months or so after Sofia was born. But I still practiced. I still connected to my breath and did the occasional Sun Salutation. I still did some shoulder and hip openers most evenings. I also made sure to have one slightly more intense practice each week. Instead of being attached to the way you were practicing before the curveball came across your plate, do whatever you can to survive the storm—and do your best to savor it.

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