Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Instructor Suggestions

It only seems fair to have a Teacher Do and Don’t list after the previous posting. While some of these seem obvious, perhaps even redundant, sometimes a reminder is good. The studio I attend and lead classes at offers this acronym to its teachers and teacher trainees: A.S.S. Make the student(s) feel Accepted, Supported, and Safe.

I created this list from my personal experience, from talking to other teachers and students, and what I like to experience when I go to other studios. It’s by no means an all-inclusive list. Feel free to add any suggestions; I’m all for making a visit to a studio - be it the first time or the 100th time - personable and enjoyable.

Yoga Teacher Do’s and Don’t’s

1) Do try and make all students feel welcome. While it is fun and comfortable to chat with the regulars and catch up on the week, excuse yourself to talk to others. Try and include the quiet and shy ones.

2) Do introduce yourself to new/new-to-you** students, explain what the class will be like, and where the bathrooms/props are located.

3) Ask new/new-to-you students what yoga or exercise experience they bring to class; at the same time, ask if they have any injuries you should be aware of.

4) Do try and learn all the student’s names. Sign them in yourself, if you can, which is a great way to match name to face.

5) Do have the students introduce themselves to others at the start of a new session or when you seem to have an influx of new faces. I like to have them pair up, as a group question such as what is your favorite dessert, then introduce them to the whole class.

6) Class is not the time for your practice.  

7) Show ALL levels of the pose.  Try not to move into an advanced version of an asana if no one in your class is working there.  That's just showing off.    

7) Offer encouragement to a student if they look like they are flagging. Offer alternative poses to a student if they look like they are struggling. Please, do not tell that student in the middle of class that they “don’t seem to be making an effort and should perhaps not be in this class” (true story).

8) Try not to over-adjust new/new-to-you students. It is thrilling to have new faces, but at the same time just being in a new class may be overwhelming to them. Offer one or two suggestions and let them be – unless! They are doing something unsafe.

9) Please, don’t over-do the incense. Not everyone likes the smell and it can be a real turn-off. It can also be a detriment to anyone who is scent-sensitive. While I’m not scent-sensitive, when I walk into a studio that has four sticks of incense burning away in the front of a closed room, I tend to gravitate to the spot where I can get any kind of air movement that cuts the cloying smell. Not fun. Especially when I’ve paid for the session and can’t leave.

10) Please, don’t play the music too loud during Savasana. Internal reflection is hard when the chest cavity is thrumbing to Deval Premal’s latest.

11) Thank the whole class for coming. They made the time and effort to be there – something we should not take for granted. If possible, check in with new students after class and inquire how class went for them.

(**new students  = new to the studio, you have not seen how they move before; new-to-you = you've seen them around the studio, or in other classes in a gym setting, you have an idea how they move)

photos from YogaJournal.com

1 comment:

Sara said...

Thanks Kristin - Good tips for all of us teachers.