Ask most yoga instructors in India and across the world about how they approach Yoga and more often than not they will say that Teaching Yoga is a personal statement based on a concept of sharing and shaped by context. Most yoga instructors especially in Mumbai and other metropolitan cities in India after getting their Yoga Teacher Training Certificates have no choice but to start from where they are and who they are and work with whatever knowledge, skills and experience that they have at that moment. Yoga instructors teaching Yoga in groups also have no say in who shows up for a class and may have to teach students whose learning styles and needs are varied and different from each other. Also on a given day, unanticipated events can make a class different from what was assumed earlier.
Yoga instructors also have to understand that that if their classes are always predictable – as in you feel the same, the students are the same old bunch and the environment is always the same – then it is good to reflect on the bubble that you are teaching in and explore how you could break out of it from time to time.
Teaching Those in Front of You
You may be a teacher who prepares a lot for a group yoga session or a corporate yoga session, but you need to be prepared to improvise on the spot if you see students whose levels are different from what you had envisioned. This will require you to assess the abilities of your students thoroughly with whatever span of time that you have before the class begins and continue that assessment throughout your class. Below are some ways that you can conduct an assessment of your students.
Querying New Yoga Students
When you introduce yourself to a new class or to a new student, ask the following questions in order for you to get a good assessment of the student and to guide him / her well in the practise sessions to follow:
- Have you practiced yoga before? If so, what style of yoga? For how much time? How frequently? This will give you a good idea about the student’s past experience.
- Do you have any injuries that I should be aware of? How are your ankles, knees, hips, back, wrists, neck and shoulders?
- If a student reports an injury and chances are high that he / she will you can follow up with: How did the injury happen? Have you had surgery? When? How does it feel now? Based on the answers, you should be guiding the student about the modifications that he / she should be doing in the practise sessions. Also advise the student to be careful and not to overexert so as to aggravate the injury.
- Are you pregnant? Have you delivered recently? If so, remember to share with her the cautions that pregnant women should take while praticing asanas. Check the following articles for guidelines on prenatal yoga. (https://www.wellintra.com/the-basics-of-pregnancy-yoga/, https://www.wellintra.com/yoga-during-first-trimester-pregnancy/, https://www.wellintra.com/yoga-during-second-trimester-pregnancy/)
- What is your daily schedule like? The answers to this question can give you valuable insights into chronic stresses and pains, tightness as well as lifestyle conditions that could affect the body and mind.
- What do you do for exercise? If the student indulges in running, swimming, cycling or engages in some other sport, then you can infer a lot about his / her flexibility and tightness issues in the legs, shoulders, back, wrists and other areas. If the student replies that he / she does not do anything else then that too is important information for you to know.