1) Don’t let the ego take control. Listen to your body and push yourself to your maximum for that day. Pushing to yesterday’s max may hurt you today.
2) Take breaks. This is a healing and helping practice – pushing yourself to exhaustion or sickness is never the idea.
1) Answer the students’ questions after class up to what you know. Don’t give the students advice just to hear yourself speak or sound like you know everything. If you don’t have an answer, learn from someone and get back to that student.
2) Don’t force yourself into a new teaching style. If you’re quite, shy, loud, talkative, or anything else – find a way to use that asset instead of changing your personality to fit the class you want to teach.
In yoga it is always important to honor our bodies and where are today in this moment in time. Everyday is different and everybody is unique. It is important to remain true to what you need, practicing from a space that calls to you, not always pushing the limits or backing off. Finding the place where you connect to what you need. We know what our bodies and our minds need, when we take the time to listen and connect we can access our true self and practice authentically.
Authenticity is truth in self expression, in personality, and spirit. Each of us is unique in our character and how we define ourselves as leaders and as teachers. It is important that we remain true to who we are and what we believe in despite our external circumstances. Our authentic self is what you will find when you peel back all the layers and get to the core of who we are on the inside. When we teach and guide from this place our true essence shines through and we find deep connection to ourselves and to our students.
As a student, I practice self love by accepting my body and mind’s limitations, before attempting to change anything. The more I am accepting, the more it feels like the yoga practice does the practicing for me. As I observe and let it happen, I grow more in love with who I am.
As a teacher, I experience self love through remaining humble and reminding myself that I wouldn’t be a teacher if the students weren’t present. This makes me deeply appreciate my role as a teacher.
Dedication is a state of being, a sacred offering whether it be to yourself or to another.
Dedication in your practice is giving time and space to yourself, it means to be there, where you are, wholeheartedly and follow your breath, it means coming back to your mat again and again even when it gets challenging or tiresome, mentally and physically.
Dedication in teaching is being fully present, being there for your students, guiding your students, encouraging your students, dedicating your time and space to them just like you do for yourself in your own practice.
A good way I’ve found to stay present is to choose one muscle and focus on it and only it for the entire class. When my attention strays, I bring it back to that one muscle. When in a posture that the muscle I’ve chosen should be engaged, I try to flex it a little more. Pushing my limits a little further, seeing what that change will do for me. When in a posture that requires that muscle to relax, I focus on releasing it even deeper and seeing how far I can go. Bringing awareness to one muscle at a time has proven a valuable tool for me to relinquish all other thoughts and stay present. With it, I also gain in depth knowledge about what that muscle should be doing throughout the class – helping me in future practices.
I have found matching my breath to the breath of the class is a great way for me to stay engaged and present. When teaching, I spend about five seconds talking about what students should do while inhaling, then I take a breath, and spend 5 seconds telling the class what they should be doing when exhaling, then I take a breath and repeat until the posture is finished. Instead of just spouting dialog out haphazardly or without thought, I stay synchronized and focussed with the class.
A lot of teachers forget about breath during a yoga class and worry just about getting through their class. But focusing a class on the breath is a simple tool to keep the class present and engaged; and it has the same effect for the person teaching the class as well.