By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
When you are teaching a Yoga class, remember that this time is not about your personal Yoga practice. Teaching Yoga is about giving your knowledge to others, demonstrating and explaining the techniques effectively, and putting your students’ needs ahead of your own. You will probably still feel the benefits of a Yoga class, but it also might leave you yearning for more, or feeling as if you did not quite get adequate fulfillment. It is up to you, then, to find time when you are not teaching to squeeze in a personal Yoga practice, where you can accomplish a number of things.
Firstly, you will be able to satisfy your need to stretch, breathe, meditate, and relax. Secondly, this is a great opportunity to work on any techniques you may be struggling with at this point in time. Finally, you might use this practice time to explore other aspects of Yoga that you are not necessarily ready to teach, but enjoy practicing independently. Use this time for personal reflection and fulfillment. Forget about teaching Yoga for a while, and focus on your inner spirit. It might seem counterproductive, but it will actually help you grow as a Yoga teacher.
It is important for all Yoga teachers to take the time to nurture themselves. In order to be able to give so much to your students, you have to keep filling your cup. Seek out time during the week where you practice Yoga alone, or with a mentor or colleague. Explore areas of Yoga that might be too advanced for a class full of novice students, or areas that you do not have the desire to teach, but wish to practice.
Maintaining a personal practice ensures that you stay current in all aspects of Yoga that interest you most. It guarantees that your Yoga classes will remain fluid and interesting, avoiding monotony. Many students prefer a varied routine for each class, where they are learning new poses or working on different areas of the body. Students expect the teacher to be a motivator, instructing them to go a bit further, or to try something new. If you are not engaging yourself in your personal practice, you must ask yourself if you are truly presenting yourself as a positive role model to your Yoga students.
Find the time to add personal Yoga practice to your schedule today. Maybe you fit it in for 15 minutes here and there, in between scheduled classes, or you could block out larger chunks of time a few times per week. Create a schedule that works for you, and stick with it.
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