There are many different challenges that you will come up against when you teach yoga, and some of them are in the most unexpected places.
Teaching yoga to complete beginners may sound like one of the easier tasks you will face as a yoga teacher, but this group of people can in fact be the most difficult!
When you have a class of students who have already got the basics down, then building on these skills can happen quite naturally. However, teaching the basics for the very first time can sometimes be a slow and tricky process.
One of the very best things about teaching yoga to total beginners is the energy and enthusiasm that these people will usually come to class with. They are excited to get stuck into the world of yoga and they have chosen you as their inspiration to do so!
When someone puts their trust in you to be their first guide into the world of yoga, you will of course want to do a good job. This added pressure of wanting to give them a fantastic first experience can also pose challenges of its own.
Today I want to delve into some simple ways to help ease the process of teaching yoga to beginners!
It can be easy to forget that a beginners class isn't necessarily an easy class for those involved. When someone hasn't done something before, then it can be extremely difficult to start — and that is absolutely true of anything!
Try to think back to your very first yoga lesson. How were you feeling? What anxieties did you have about the class that you were about to embark upon?
It can be so easy to forget your own first experience, especially if you have been practicing yoga for a very long time. Tapping back into this memory can be of great assistance to you when you are guiding someone else through their introduction to yoga.
Be sure to break down the poses step by step, and avoid using any confusing terms that your students are unlikely to know yet. It is also essential that you offer alternative poses to anyone who feels that they need to take it a bit slower.
The Philosophy of Yoga
The basic poses will naturally be among the first things that you teach, but sharing some of the history and philosophy of yoga can be a great idea too.
Imparting some yogic wisdom to your students can help them to fall in love with this ancient practice, just as you surely once did. When they have a greater connection to yoga then they are much more likely to enjoy the lessons and keep coming back for more.
Remembering to check in often with your students is essential if you are to make them feel safe and supported. It is not okay to assume that someone will speak up if they are struggling, and if there is a large number of students in your class then this is even more important.
As you move around the room, be sure to ask people how they are getting on, even if it looks like they're physically doing well. As you gently correct their poses and help your students to move their bodies in the required way, make it clear that you are there to support and guide them and that there is never any pressure to get it right.
When you are teaching yoga it can be really easy to get caught up in wanting to seem like you're completely amazing at what you do — when in fact you likely don't have to try so hard!
Leave your ego at the door and teach your students how you would teach your very best friend. Be clear, be kind, and be patient.
Teaching yoga isn't about showing the world what you know, it's about sharing the right knowledge at the right time. It's about understanding the needs of your students and responding to them in a way that creates a safe learning environment for everyone.
Click here for my advice on How To Stand Out As A Yoga Teacher!
Have A Back-Up Plan
Sometimes having a lesson plan in mind is simply not enough as you never know what challenges might arise during a beginner class.
Always being prepared to take your lesson down a notch — for everyone or for just certain students — is always a good idea. Making the mistake of thinking everyone will be able to follow along because it's a beginners class is likely not one you will make twice!
You may find that for the first few classes, simple stretches and very gentle poses are all your students have the capacity for. It is up to you to read the room and know when to wind it down to something more manageable. Similarly, you should be able to observe when your students are ready to progress to the next level.
Keeping things challenging but manageable is key to creating the perfect balance of difficulty for all of your lessons.
When you are building a yoga business there are so many things to consider and many different new things to learn. I have put together a downloadable PDF of 5 weekly habits that I urge you to embrace as you build your business!
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