Yoga Teacher Challenge: Teaching Beginners

Currently, I am doing an excellent online course called The Art of Teaching Beginners on Glo. Often we have students in our classes who have never done yoga before so it is important to make these students have a rewarding, enjoyable experience. Yoga is such a wonderful practice to have in one’s life, it always bothers me when people tell me about off putting experiences they have had when they have given it a go for the first time. We certainly wouldn’t want to inadvertently create an unpleasant experience for a new student in any of our classes.

I have just finished the first few sets of lectures focused on the fundamentals of teaching yoga to beginners. Some key concepts have emerged – the importance of consistency, clarity and connection. For yoga teachers it can sometimes be difficult to remember what it is like to be new at a practice that we are so familiar with. It is important for us to put ourselves into the shoes of our beginner students and reconnect with how it felt when we first began our yoga journey.

Many beginners come to classes with some anxiety and can feel intimidated with what is to come. The course emphasizes that our job as teachers is to make sure that beginners in our classes feel welcome and at ease. Practicing compassion and feeling empathy for our new students is essential for this to happen. The key yogic principle that is connected to these ideas is ahimsa, or “non harm”. Ahimsa is the first principle of the Yamas. Yamas are ethical guidelines meant to govern how we interact with others. The Yamas were recorded in the Yoga Sutras, written by Patanjali.

New students look to the teacher for guidance and reassurance. We have the responsibility to provide a safe space for beginners so that they can flourish. If beginners feel comfortable in their first few classes then yoga can become a lifelong journey that enhances their wellbeing, thus creating a real impact on their health.

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