YOGA TEACHING: FIVE WAYS TO RE-CENTER DURING CLASS
This blog post is for yoga teachers, but at the heart of these tips are ways to be a better public speaker.
To be honest, before teaching I never had to talk much in front of a crowd, and so I learned lots of things in a trial-by-fire manner. I've also go my own challenges with anxiety and panic attacks, which can arise during class. All I know is what I've learned along the way, and I hope you can take something from it.
These tips can be paired with one another, and I've gotta say, all of them include the 🔑 — the breath.
TAKE A BREATHER DURING DOWN DOG OR CHILD'S POSE
I read this tip in an article on Yoga by Candace, and it made so much sense. She mentions having a plan of attack for nerves or fear, but I think this can apply in all cases where you need to take a moment to re-center.
Most students aren't going to notice an extra long down dog or child's pose, especially if you add a specific timeline, such as cueing five to ten breaths. Use this moment to breathe with your students.
PUT A PAUSE BUTTON ON GIVING REFINEMENT CUES
Sometimes (LOL all the time), I trip up on my words and cueing. I've known for a long time that I have trouble telling right from left. I know this sounds silly, but I'm serious. I can't tell right from left. Add in trying to mirror students while teaching, and you've gotta have some seriously mind-bending abilities to cue correctly, on time, all the time.
When I get myself in some tongue twisters, my first reaction is to laugh it off and admit to my dyslexia, and keep on guiding my students. This doesn't work 100% of the time. Sometimes the mistakes pile up until I start to feel insecure in front of the class, and then a really start to struggle.
If you find yourself in a bind (not the yoga kind), get the students in the pose, and let them be. Bonus points if you know that the students know what to do, and all you have to say is "Warrior 2".
CONNECT WITH THE SONG THAT IS PLAYING (OR THE SOUNDS AROUND YOU)
When I'm teaching, many times I'm tuning out the music in favor of putting all of my attention into the room.
Take a brief moment for sensory therapy. If you're playing music, listen in closely for a moment. I'm assuming you made the playlist, so you like the song, right? As little as ten seconds and a few breaths will do. If you're teaching Hatha or maybe on a farm (like me) and the space is quieter, listen in for whatever comes to you. Silence is rarely silent.
DO THE YOGA POSE WITH THEM, INHALE/EXHALE
I was taught to avoid demonstrating too many poses during class, and I have to agree. I am not fully present with my students if I don't have the time to step out of my own practice. I can't give myself fully to the pose if I'm teaching, and most of the time, I don't want to.
That being said, if I need to re-center and ground back into the earth to teach class, I might take a moment to take flow with my students. I'll take a pause with cueing and give my breath more attention.
PLACE RIGHT HAND OVER THE HEART, INHALE/EXHALE
This is another method of sensory therapy. Feel the warmth of your hand over the heart and stand deeply in two feet. Feel your wiggles settling down into the earth below you. Move on from whatever has been bothering you.
Some of these tips might not work for you, and that's alright. All I know is that teaching has inspired more growth in me than I ever could have imagined.