Which Yoga students do I want to teachBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Which Yoga students do I want to teach? This seems like a discriminatory question, but in terms of student safety, not all Yoga students are the same. Some students bring years of experience to the classroom, while others have just signed up for their very first class. Some are athletes hoping to become as flexible as a rubber band, and others are stressed-out parents looking to blow off some steam. As a Yoga instructor, you need to be aware of all the different types of students you’ll encounter while teaching classes. A full understanding will allow you to prepare for a variety of students. It will also help you build a schedule that focuses primarily on the practitioners you’re most qualified and interested in teaching.


Medical Risks

This is the first group that comes to mind. Some students come to class with diversified medical issues. Pregnant students are advised to attend prenatal Yoga classes, but what about all the other conditions. Firstly, this is why studios have applications and student meetings with teachers before students attend classes. For example: A student with high blood pressure might be advised to consult with his or her physician before participating in class. By the way, a student with high blood pressure might also want to reconsider the Hot Yoga class. As teachers, we might want to explain the combination of heat and medication might lower potassium levels. The point is teachers have to know the risks and advise students accordingly. In some cases, a student would be so much better off in a Restorative class.  Our students depend on us to give them guidance. In some cases, it may be something like, “please discuss this with your doctor.”

Different Levels Of Experience

Experience level is the main factor of difference between Yoga students. A total beginner and a ten-year Yoga student will bring completely different needs and expectations to a class. You should be aware of what teaching different levels could entail. Teachers are on the journey from beginner teacher to advanced teacher. As teachers, we are obligated to teach with compassion, patience, and grace. Most of all we want to keep every student safe. Student safety is the overriding factor in every class we teach.


Beginner Classes

Beginners are true blank slates, arriving at their first class with nothing but their expectations. They’re often nervous, and they’ll need lots of attention right from the start. Teaching beginners is a lot of work, requiring constant instruction, attention to detail, and regular encouragement. With patience, however, it’s also extremely rewarding. A good teacher can help beginners foster a love for Yoga that will change their lives for the better.

Intermediate Classes

Once beginners have learned the basics, they graduate to the intermediate category. These students have the general concepts down, but they still need regular correction to keep their path, form, and technique moving forward. They’ll also be able to move on to complicated concepts and techniques. Many instructors find joy in helping students along during this important part of their Yoga journey.


Advanced Classes

Advanced students have practiced Yoga for years. They bring confidence and competence to each and every class. They know a lot already, but they’re still eager to face further challenges. While teaching an advanced class might seem easy, some instructors find it difficult to raise standards for students who already know so much. Teaching advanced practitioners is all about helping them refine their techniques so they can reach an even higher level.

Different Goals

To each of us, an objective or goal is of different value. To some people a life goal might be expensive jewelry on the hand and arm. In Yoga, some may want to stand on their heads, while others want to attain enlightenment. Every student comes to a Yoga class with their own mix of priorities, goals and motivations. While most students have more than one goal in mind, they can still be divided or sub-divided according to inherent priorities that cause motivation. Goal-oriented students will participate in your classes. The key is to understand what motivates people is to listen. Whether you agree about the importance of a student’s specific goal, or not, goals are often a prime motivator in participation. To be clear, the goals among Ashtanga students will often differ with the goals among students in a Restorative Yoga class. Any facility that has Yoga classes provides different styles to give like-minded students a haven.

Seeking Physical Benefits

Some Yoga students are principally concerned with the physical benefits of the practice. They feel their bodies are tight or inflexible, and they see Yoga as a potential solution to their problem. A good teacher should respect these students’ main objectives while simultaneously encouraging them to reap the holistic benefits of Yoga as well.


Seeking Stress Relief

These days, it seems everybody is desperate for a way to relax. Modern life is hectic, and lots of folks have a hard time finding peace among the chaos. Yoga class offers people a place to unwind in a calm, communal setting. Depending on present circumstances, work atmosphere, family situations, relationships, and per