By Bhavan Kumar
Student safety is obviously an important aspect regarding classes, Yoga instructor training, and education in general. After all, there are many different physical styles, from Hatha to Bikram, and they each have their own risks. A Yoga teacher should be well trained so that he or she can observe the students and help to prevent injury or exacerbate old ones. Keeping student safety in mind can mean a number of things, including asana modification, assistance with poses or just offering words of encouragement.
Hatha Yoga is generally considered to be very accessible for people of all different types of fitness levels. Many people walk into a class for the very first time might not know what to expect. That’s why it can be so beneficial to talk to the class as a whole for a few minutes before beginning. Asking if there is anything in particular that people want to work on or asking about previous injuries can help students feel more included. This is also a good time to ensure that you will offer modifications for certain asanas, especially ones that might be problematic for some people.
One of the best thing about Yoga training is the fact that people can grow into their practice. If at first a certain pose is unattainable, there is always room for improvement. Helping a struggling student so that they do not injure themselves and offering an alternative is something that a student will remember. This is yet another reason why connecting with the students on an individual level is so powerful and important.
In many sports and actually in life in general, people are taught to push themselves to their limits. However, that is not something that is always beneficial during Yoga practice. Encouraging your students to stretch themselves without injury is important. Proper warm up and cool down, along with verbal guidance, physical examples, and tips on modifications are imperative to a good practice. If a student seems to be struggling, let them know that they can and should take a break. Asana practice isn’t a competitive sport, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. Keeping students focused and helping them as they move through their practice in a safe and effective manner is one of the many ways a Yoga instructor will use their training to its top potential.
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