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Even More about Communication Skills for Yoga Teachers

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Nov 16, 2007
Who are some of the best teachers a Yoga instructor could have? The answer should not surprise you, but it is our Yoga students who create the best Yoga teacher from within us. Consider this: Random questions develop complete knowledge of any given subject.

Yoga students are full of questions, so let them ask, and you will find. Yoga students often have a "fresh view" of Yoga. We cannot easily absorb new ideas with a preconceived perspective of a given subject. Yoga students have no set of preconceived notions about Yoga

Socrates once said, "I know nothing, except the fact of my ignorance." If he could be such a humble teacher about the subject of life, who are we to feel so comfortable with our knowledge on the subject of Yoga? Allow Yoga-related questions during class time, and everyone will be richer for the experience.

It is true that some Yoga teachers have found their niche by suppressing student thought, but this is not Yoga, and it is all about control. The sad fact is - Yoga students, who seek out abusive teacher / student relationships are magnetized to dogmatic personalities and have voluntarily chosen to be in the relationship.

These same primal behavior patterns run parallel to their relationships at home, in work, and in their social lives. This is unfortunate, but all of us have a place in this life, and some people crave the negative attention of an "alpha personality." If you observe a wolf pack, you can see much similar behavior.

Getting back to communication skills - Yoga teachers, who masterfully explain concepts through cueing, voice inflection, demonstration, and assisting, have taken the time to practice the art of communication. Seasoned Yoga instructors are not good at what they do by accident. Time spent in front of a crowd, or a mirror, causes us to look within and communicate effectively.

Knowing the audience is a valuable skill every Yoga teacher should take the time to learn. What are the interests of your Yoga students? What parts of the lesson plan raise their level of motivation? Do you feel a stir of excitement or anticipation at certain points in your Yoga class? Even if none of them says a word, you can still read "body language."

When students feel the beneficial aspects of your Yoga class, it is "written all over their faces." Develop your intuition, but do not drive yourself crazy. If you are still not sure what motivates your students, it is time to ask them some tactful questions.

A sample question, about one subject, might be: "Do you see the benefit of practicing Revolved Triangle now?" If they do not give you an answer, you can list the skeletal benefits to the hips, spine, shoulders, and legs. You can list the muscles, which are strengthened and stretched.

You could also mention the particular internal organs, which are massaged and cleansed. Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana), like many Asanas, has many physical benefits, but it develops mental strength, as well. The student / teacher relationship is a "think tank." Allow your students to participate completely, and the proficiency level of your entire school will be raised.

Ponder these words of Jesus: "Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." The answers to all of our questions are right in front of us, if we remember this.

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.

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