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Teaching Hatha Yoga - Keys To Student Development

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Jul 1, 2008
Do you want to develop successful students? Of course you do. Every Yoga teacher is proud of their students. The student who overcomes a disability, and the student who changes his or her life for the best, are stories which make all of us feel satisfied that we became Yoga teachers.

How do we point students toward self-development? When a student takes responsibility for his or her own practice, this is the beginning of empowerment. It is wise to inspire your students to, at least, perform a short practice at home.

We have all had a phone call from a potential student who can only come to class once a week. This is fine, if the student takes the practice home. What about the student who tells you he or she cannot meditate alone? What about the student who has no time?

Your answer might make them laugh. Here it is: Do you have three minutes per day to spare for Yoga? If that is not possible, their problem is time management or procrastination. In reality, who cannot spare three minutes in the morning or evening?

Next, ask your students to try one minute of meditation, at home, per day, in the morning or evening. Ask them to observe only and not to judge. Breath awareness is fine for new students, because it is easy for home Yoga practice. Keeping their eyes open, or closed, does not matter, but they should try both methods.

The next student task for home is pranayama (Yogic breathing). Anyone can find one minute to spare for pranayama practice. Let's be honest, our students breathe all day, but some self-discipline is required to breath with rhythm for only one minute.

Any method will do, but Bastrika, Brahmari, Ujjayi, Udgeeth, Nadi Shodana, Dirgha, or Kapalabhati pranayama, are good choices. Obviously, it would be best for students to choose one or two methods for a one minute session.

Now, you can guide your students toward a one minute asana home practice session. This would be two postures, which are counter-poses of each other.

However, I often suggest they try seated pelvic circles, which are practiced in many Hatha classes, but you see them, most commonly, in Kundalini Yoga practice. This practice massages the vital organs, eliminates toxins, is good for skeletal health, and stimulates internal energy.

Students can sit in Sukasana (Easy Pose) or on a chair. Then, they would slowly rotate the torso 360 degrees, in slow and gradual circles. The spine should be straight, as possible, the entire time. After 30 seconds, they should rotate in the opposite direction.

So, now you have it: A three minute Yoga session. You will discover that some students have a procrastination issue, but most of your students will tell you they continued to practice Yoga for many more minutes. Between us, three minutes for Yoga is better than none at all, but the true purpose is to create a "spark."

It is up to our students to "keep the fire going." Yoga at home will improve their lives, but they have to get a taste of it, in order to realize the deeper joy of the practice.

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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