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Mindful Teacher Training: How to Be a Better Yoga Instructor

Mindful Teacher Training: How to Be a Better Yoga Instructor

If you’re a yoga instructor and want to enhance your teaching, there are several instructional methods you can take advantage of, such as mindfulness teacher training. Learning the skills to keep your students engaged while keeping them in touch with their bodies and minds during yoga class can make each course more fulfilling. Here are some tips to keep in mind to improve your yoga courses for yourself and your students.

Know Your Students by Name

It’s important for you to connect with each individual who attends your yoga class. If you have large classes or teach several classes a week, make a list of your students and write a short note to describe each person. This helps you to remember everyone by name and encourages regular attendance. Your students want to be heard and seen. When you acknowledge each student, you’re confirming the notion that he/she is important and valuable to your class.

Take Yoga Classes

One of the best ways to be a better yoga instructor is to become an avid yoga student. After all, you can’t teach something that you don’t know to others! You can take the principles and skills you learn in your class. When you’re taking yoga classes regularly, you’ll continue to be inspired and learn tactics you can share with those who attend your yoga class. You can even try to experiences other classes to make your class better.

By taking other classes and spending more tie with other yogis, you can learn a lot about what it takes to teach others. It’ll be easier to teach a class once you witness the kind of teaching techniques and energy that other teachers you enjoy learning from employ. When you’re a lifelong yoga student, you’ll develop an attitude of humility toward the practice and remain open to the ways yoga can mentally and physically transform you.

Look Your Students In the Eye

Make eye contact with your students and observe the way they move during class. When you watch your students intently, you’ll have the necessary information to give constructive feedback. Paying attention to members of your yoga class will also make them feel more comfortable with learning and attending your class. Try not to fall into the trap of only talking to a few yoga students. Try to at least say, “Hi,” to everyone, before moving on to interact with students who spend more time getting to know you.  

If you see a student who is uncomfortable with certain yoga poses, you can encourage him/her during or after class when you’re watching closely to ensure everyone is getting the most out of your class. You can also try to alleviate any stress they may feel in the class, by making jokes that they will find funny. Basically, by trying to be friendly and engaging, you will do wonders for your yoga students and their experience in your class. 

Have a Teaching Plan — But Be Willing to Change It

Each time you show up for yoga class, you should have a clear idea of what you’ll teach and how you’re going to tie a mindfulness theme into physical instruction. You can write down the steps you’ll take to make each student comfortable with the yoga poses. If you include meditation in your class, write down some pointers to keep your students focused on their breathing or positive thoughts.

Of course, plans will change sometimes and you have to be prepared. Look at your students to see how they’re doing and adjust your class accordingly. If you notice that your students are stressed or have low emotional energy, don’t try new or difficult yoga poses. Instead, try to lead them in some calming poses and breathing techniques. Ask your students how they’re feeling during class so you’ll know which poses will work best. As a yoga teacher, you have to be willing to go with the flow.

Always Be Open to Feedback

Don’t approach teaching yoga with the notion that you always know what you’re doing. There is always room to grow as an instructor. Be willing to learn instead of always striving to be right. This will also make it easier for other students in your class to feel like they can learn and make mistakes too. Also, make sure to listen to feedback from your students and incorporate their needs or suggestions into class. The more open and comfortable the classroom environment is for you and your students, the better your class experience will be. Teach from a place of gratitude; this makes it easy to gain new skills and perspectives.

Leave Your Personal Issues at the Door

Keep in mind that teaching yoga classes is not a substitute for therapy. When you show up for class, you should encourage your students to be at ease. Everyone in your class has a unique reason for why they’re interested in yoga and a specific life story. But, those personal reasons are not the same reasons for other students who are attending the class. Sharing reasons to come and learn together are fine, but the point of the class is to learn yoga. Not to vent about life’s frustrations. Your goal should be to make individuals feel better when they leave your class because of the benefits that come from practicing yoga. Be present for your students during every session and don’t bring your personal agendas into class. But also, don’t be afraid to kindly shut down any situations where students are oversharing inappropriately.

Be Yourself

Remember to be yourself. Your students don’t need a perfect yoga teacher, but they do need an honest instructor. Trying to be perfect is a sign that you’re leading with your ego, which is not part of yoga. The more you show up as your authentic self during class, the more you’ll inspire your students to follow your lead. Yoga is all about connection and presence and shouldn’t be a mysterious practice. When you share where you are in your yoga journey, you’ll enhance your class and enrich your teaching experience.