When you first start teaching it can be very exciting to let everyone know about your classes! You are often excited and want to tell everyone that yoga is accessible to every body.
This is such a great truth about yoga. And it is pretty unique to yoga, as the fitness world has limitations with movement if one is injured. The problem comes in serving all those different body types once they all arrive at your class!
It can cause a bit of tension for the teacher if an experienced yogi arrives along with a new student who has never practiced before. This tension comes from a good place. It comes from a desire to serve your students well and make sure they all know they have a place in your class.
So, here’s a tip! Instead of trying to teach an “all levels” class, which is really difficult to please everyone, decide on a level and stick to it! A level 1/2 is great for that. Level 1 with modification offered can serve the new yogi.
Modifications could be:
- dropping to your knees in plank
- skipping sun salutations all together (or just the chaturanga)
- shortening the stance in standing poses
- bringing the arms to heart center
The level 2 without modifications can serve the practicing yogi who wants the challenge. This places the tension on them to listen to their body and make the practice work for them. That is what we want, right? A student who is taking ownership of their practice.
Finally, I share a special saying with my students at the beginning of my level 1/2, as it draws many different yogis from my community. I say,
“If you leave this class saying, “that was just too hard I’m not going back” you may be in defeat. Take that before the Lord. If you leave this class saying, “that was too easy I’m not going back” you may be in pride. Take that before the Lord.”
This allows them to view their practice in the fullness of heart, soul, mind, and strength.
That is the goal of Holy Yoga at the end of the day. To EXPERIENCE the living God on your mat.
Post by: Jonnie Goodmanson is a Senior Trainer for Holy Yoga Global®, LLC. Jonnie leads HYG’s core programs including their 200-hour Teacher Training, Master’s Program, Touch Training, and Trauma Sensitive Yoga Certification with an emphasis on injury modification and anatomy and physiology. Jonnie is a continuing education provider for Yoga Alliance and ACE Fitness. She teaches yoga at Lifetime Fitness and Mainstreet Church in Mound, MN. You can read more about Jonnie’s role at www.holyyoga.net.