We often talk about what we need as teachers in order to be effective. What about what we don’t need? Especially if you’re new, it can be daunting to decide what you want to include. So, to that end, here’s a list of things you can potentially skip and still teach effectively. Disclaimer: there’s no judgment on any of these items and they’re all wonderful on their own or in any combination. This is just an exercise in what might be involved in being essential as a teacher.
An Interesting Sequence
We can get caught up in the idea that in order to be popular or desirable as a teacher, we need to teach interesting, ever changing sequences. A well thought out, anatomically sound class, taught regularly can be challenging, effective and attractive to students of all levels.
An In-Depth Knowledge Of Sanskrit
This one’s a little trickier. There’s some basic Sanskrit you should know and be able to pronounce correctly when you teach. You should know the Sanskrit for the poses you teach, even if you’re teaching in English primarily. Using clear, action oriented phrases is understandable to all. Some styles of yoga and training encourage primary use of Sanskrit. Just be sure whatever you say, you are pronouncing it correctly and can explain what it means.
Using music is entirely optional and should not be seen as a requirement for teaching, unless you and the studio owner have found that the class style requires it.
If we use the general guidelines of inversions, arm balances and binds being characteristics of many of the more advanced postures, one could suggest that an effective class can proceed without any of these.
More than reading, speak from your heart and share openly. One should never feel they are spending more than a few minutes selecting a reading for class and they should be used judiciously so as not to sound preachy or be distracting. Generally speaking, readings don’t need to be used at all.
While lovely to use, they can bring up allergies and reactions to smell for some people.
Jokes Or Stories
If the spirit moves you, they’re great to share but it’s not necessary that you be using either of these to make your classes more attractive to students. We should always feel that we can leave students with the instruction for the pose, cueing on the breath and that’s it.
Expensive Or Brand Name Yoga Clothing
You should look neat and professional. Whether you’re wearing the latest in yoga gear or an older, less popular style, your teaching quality has nothing to do with what you wear.
A Yoga Mat
This might sound crazy but truly, you should be able to walk into a room, anywhere, and teach a class. You might do a pose or two every now and then in order to illustrate a point but that might be it.
Whatever you do decide to include in your classes, don’t forget the most important thing: your true nature and the commitment to always being yourself.