How can you start teaching Yoga by example? One of the most transformational aspects of Yoga “on the mat,” is how this practice transforms our lives “off the mat.” As a professional teacher, you are probably well aware of how your own practice of asanas, pranayama exercises and breathing techniques has transformed your own life. This may have been one of your main reasons for pursuing a teacher certification, so that you are able to share the profound physical and psychological benefits of this practice with others in your community.
You may have also enrolled in a Yoga teacher certification program, in order to deepen your own experience the myriad of benefits that this ancient and time-tested practice offers to regular practitioners. Additionally, you may be interested in exploring the classical Indian scriptures, such as the Yoga Vasistha and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, that form the foundation for many of the various forms and styles that are practiced today. As you begin to explore and understand more of the layers of profound wisdom that are found in the pages of these classical texts, you will be able to offer this wisdom back to your students.
An important aspect of teaching Yoga classes that is often overlooked is the modeling of the wisdom of classical Yogic texts by the teacher during class. In other words, the teacher ideally models many of the noble qualities that are enumerated in the scriptural texts from around the world, including patience and compassion, during the course of his or her class. For example, imagine the irony of being short-tempered with one of your students, if he or she is not able to stay up in Headstand for a full three minutes!
Let’s just say, that this level of impatience would certainly not be in alignment with the advice of the ancient sages and seers of India. By personally modeling the noble qualities and virtuous actions that are recommended by the classical Yogic texts during your class, you will be providing a very real and tangible example for your students to follow. Many of these noble qualities and virtues, such as honesty, generosity and patience, are not necessarily valued in our world today.
Certainly being dishonest is not valued either, but getting ahead and multi-tasking at all times of the day and night are held in much higher regard than slowing down enough to be patient with oneself or those around us. Behavioral experts estimate that 93% of our communication is nonverbal. According to their research, approximately 38% of our communication is through the tone and cadence of our voice and the other 55% is through our body language. A paltry 7% of our communication is through the words that we use!
As a professional Yoga instructor, this means that by embodying the spirit of the ancient scriptures, including fostering an internal state of patience and compassion for your students, is of the utmost importance. Over time, your students will learn to be patient with themselves and with each other, by watching the patient and kind way that you treat them. With a consistent and dedicated Yoga practice, the wisdom that is elucidated in the ancient scriptures will begins to arise from within the hearts and minds of your students. This will allow your students to truly integrate the practice of Yoga “on the mat,” into their everyday actions in the world.
Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: [email protected].
© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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