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Teaching Hatha Yoga - The Eight Limbs and Student Advancement

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Jun 21, 2008
Yoga teachers infinitely differ in their approaches to student advancement. Some teachers will see a physical achievement as the "end goal." Yet, we know that Yoga has many more aspects for advancement. Among these many aspects are: emotional, mental, and spiritual growth.

Yoga teachers might also consider the value of good character in their students. In your community, each of your students represents your studio or ashram. Many people are not familiar with Yoga, so your students do, in fact, represent Yoga, and your studio, within your community.

Now that you see this clearly, please be sure to make your students aware of it. There is nothing worse than an egotist, who represents Yoga. If a person is constantly talking about themselves, they usually end up alone. Granted, most people do like to talk about themselves, but a well-rounded Yoga curriculum should cover putting the ego in place.

Instilling self-confidence in your students is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with a student achieving his or her dreams, but remaining humble is also part of the package. All of us should be giving thanks to a higher power for the quality of life we have. It is easy to be thankful for what we have in this life. Yet, for some people, it is also easy to take for granted, or forget, those who help us.

Now, you may be thinking, "How do I fit Yogic philosophy into my lesson plan?" When is the best time to cover the basics of Yama and Niyama in a Hatha Yoga class? Will I bore the exercise-minded students, who want a "workout?"

Cover a little piece of philosophy, in each lesson, as it is related to life in the present moment; just a short idea, without a big lecture, will do, but cover Yama or Niyama regularly.

In fact, all of the Eight Limbs, mentioned by Patanjali, are important. Review the Eight Limbs and carry them into your classes. Make sure your students get the full experience.

About the student who is bored by hearing a little about the Eight Limbs: Do you really want to alter a 5,000 year old practice to appease someone who cannot sit still for a second? If you visit a few Yoga classes, in your surrounding community, you might notice teachers who do this all the time.

Yoga classes were not designed to be like a drive-thru experience. When teachers take "short cuts," we are giving our students a small taste of Yoga, but the student sincerely believes, "been there, done that."

Be honest and let your students know, they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. As you know, there is much more to Yoga than anyone can learn in a lifetime.

Copyright 2008 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/member-offer.html
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