Developing Your Skills as a Yoga Teacher

No matter what style of yoga you teach or intend to teach, there are many things you can do to ensure a wonderful class for both you and your students.

The following tips are just a few techniques that will help bring out the best in your class:

1) Orient your students to the class. Tell your students what to expect before the class begins.

2) Explain the benefits of specific yoga postures and breathing exercises. Studies have shown that educating students about their bodies and the effects of what they are doing, increases motivation.

3) Practice effective communication skills. Teaching yoga is different than speaking with a friend or teaching an individual. It's important to be clear and concise - using too many words can break the flow of the class and cause more confusion than help. Also, make eye contact with individual students throughout the class to show your openness and confidence.

4) Know your material. The only way to feel confident teaching yoga is to know your material - which means to understand the alignment details of each yoga posture, as well as the effects and benefits of each posture.

5) Take it step by step. Talk your students through a pose step by step, emphasizing that they can stop at any step along the way. Encourage students to only go to their edge - that point where they feel challenged, yet not overdoing it.

6) Mirror the postures. When facing your class, mirror the movements you demonstrate and do with the class. For example, when you say "reach your right arm overhead," actually raise your left arm, so it mirror the arm used by your class.

7) Repeat postures. Repeat postures once or twice. This gives students a chance to most watch the first time, but still have enough opportunity to practice the posture on their own.

8) Walk the room. Move around rather than stay in front. This allows you to be with your students and become more aware of what they need.

9) Remind everyone to breathe. Proper breathing is essential in yoga and helps keep the mind focused on the body, while making movement mind mindful and efficient. Often when students try a new pose, they tend to hold their breath, so remind students often to breathe. Explain when to inhale and when to exhale. Encourage students to breathe through their nose. This helps keep their bodies warm, helps filter the air they inhale and helps keep breathing more smooth and breath rate slower.

10) Help students develop their inner awareness. Remind students to focus on the feel of a movement, rather than how it looks or how they compare to other students. Focusing on their breath and on inner feel of a pose helps students stay present in the moment and connect movement to breath.

11) Use positive reinforcement. When you see someone doing something correctly, mention it to them and let them know that you've noticed their progress.

To learn more useful tips for yoga teaching or to receive our free newsletter, which includes our expert interview series, bringing you teaching insights from legendary yoga teachers, visit our website at: www.YogaEducationInstitute.com.

Author's Bio: 

Nancy Wile, Ed.D. is the founder of Yoga To Go (http://www.yogatg.com ) – a yoga organization that provides simple and effective yoga programs for busy people around the world – and the Yoga Education Institute (http://www.yogaeducationinstitute.com) – a yoga teacher training organization.