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More Communication Skills for Yoga Teachers

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Nov 13, 2007
When Yoga teachers gather in a workshop to hear a lecture about communication - what is the first topic that comes to mind? Is it cueing skills, voice inflection, or when to ask a student for permission to assist? Those are important issues for anyone who teaches Yoga, but let's take a look at many more areas that could use some work.

Communication is a two way street. How can we exchange ideas if students are made to feel "stupid" for asking questions? Granted, Yoga classes cannot operate like an open forum, if you have a lesson plan in mind, but a student who is experiencing pain should not have to feel bad for asking about it. Nor should he or she have to wait until the end of class to ask an impatient teacher about his or her pain.

Listen Empathically: When a student asks a Yoga-related question during class time, the Yoga instructor present, should listen to all of the details. There are times when a Yoga student asks questions, which are on the mind of many more classmates.

For some Yoga students, it takes a lot of courage to ask a question in a group setting. Some students ponder questions for days before asking them. Their heart rate may rise because it took courage to ask the question.

With all this said, listening is a primary communication skill. As a Yoga teacher, you are respected by your students, so do not violate a trust by bolstering your ego. The key is to listen intently, because you may have questions of your own, which will result in a deeper answer.

Who becomes a Yoga student's best teacher during Hatha Yoga practice? His or her body, and mind, must eventually be the best Yoga teacher. If not, we have failed to give our students the gift of self-realization. To go further: Yoga students must learn to think for themselves. If they are dependent on a Yoga teacher, all the time, then our teaching method is flawed.

Why do I say this? If a student is not present for Yoga practice, we must make him or her gently aware of it. There is no need to make students dependent on us. Good students will always return to Yoga class.

Yoga must still be practiced after our students have rolled up their mats. Breathing, walking, talking, eating, posturing, and acting with mindfulness, is the sign of a Yoga practitioner. All of the amazing physical feats are nice, but any flexible Pilates student, dancer, gymnast, or martial artist, could do the same.

Copyright 2007 - 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. He is an author of many books on the subject of Yoga and has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org
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