By Jenny Park
How important is teaching Yoga to beginners? After you become a yoga instructor, you have so much more to share with your friends. Nothing excites me more when friends say they are interested in learning more about yoga. Then again, I find teaching students exciting at any stage, but to see the initial change in them at the very beginning is always thrilling. Many do not understand what yoga training is all about. Some think it is simply stretching, other think it is mostly meditation. It may be hard for us seasoned pros to remember how learning the basics can be overwhelming for the very first time. There are many approaches to introducing yoga and not every method will work for every student. So the best bet is to experiment with them all and go from there.
Breathing and Meditation
What I consider one of the most important elements of yoga, or perhaps the very most important is breathing. This is because it puts the body in the perfect condition to begin practice. Breathing is our prana, or life source. It is through this that all things live and feel alive. It is detrimental for a new student to master the breathing techniques of pranayama in order to benefit fully from practice. I like to create an atmosphere with dark lighting and candles, or twinkle lights strung up around the room, put on music, and teach techniques in that atmosphere to promote relaxation. I am always sure to make the beat of the music match the tempo of the breathing.
Find Their Preferred Style
Next is a good time to take a little trip through the different types of yoga to find what is best for the beginner. You may speak with them first to learn about any problem areas they have such as back and neck pain, stress, or addictions. Lifestyle plays a very large role in selecting what type of yoga training is best. Also, take note of the student’s goals for yoga practice. What results would they like to come out of their new practice.
Be Informative and Involved
My very first experience with yoga was not a good time. I walked into a “beginners” class, but these people did not seem like beginners at all. The yoga instructor simply began the class with no introduction or instruction at all. She simply barked out the asanas and executed them. She didn’t even walk around the class to offer tips. Needless to say I was disenchanted. Always explain the move, how to execute it and the benefits it brings to educate both new and even experienced students. Teaching yoga to beginners is a skill and a niche that is underrated.
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