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The Art of Teaching Yoga

Yoga with its principles requires focus from both students and teachers who are learning it. However, the teacher needs to be aware of how to get the students to learn quickly. The things that need to be taken care while teaching a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course are not complex things but simple and easy things. Teaching of yoga is considered as an art and science. The comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of yoga and the knowledge contemporary methods of teaching is quite essential for teacher to enhance the effectiveness in the class. The safety and prevention of the injuries is one of the important concerns for the students during their practical training in the subject which is achieved through the proper knowledge on the mechanics of anatomy and physiology with its relevancy in the practical aspects. This article will try and tell about these simple actions that will take your teaching a notch up for sure.
Teach as per the Environment
Always teach as per the environment and the society. It can vary from the Yoga Shala being filled with pictures or being blank walls. The philosophy of the society guides these things. Chanting "Om" is very good but should not be made compulsory. Instead, texts like Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and knowledge about the Chakras should be shared as knowledge. Translating these texts should always be done correctly so they do not lose their meaning.
The Practical Approach
The best way to learn yoga is to travel to the land of Yoga i.e. India. However, it does not mean that Yoga learnt elsewhere is not worthy. Providing practical application is the best way to teach about Yoga. Simply chanting the Sanskrit verses and not telling what it says in a language that the student understands. Showing how the yogic principles can be put to practical use it the best way for the teacher to make the student understand the Philosophy.
Do not do Literal Translation
Sanskrit is a language that is more about the meaning which is never literal meaning. Breaking down into singular words will never give the real meaning of the verse or text you are trying to teach. The best example is the Gita which has to be understood by reading between the lines rather than the meaning of the words. So, the way to go is to make the student understand what the verse actually means and what it stands for.
Integrate Principles into Life
Even if you are just learning to teach Yoga, do not get overwhelmed. The lessons which are there in the Bagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras are quite easy to imbibe. Take for example the concept of "karma Yoga" which is mentioned in the Gita. The text simply says that doing is the only way to achieve your goal and it cannot be excluded from your routine. Quite simple principle and easy to integrate into life.
Yoga is not only Asanas
The very basic of Yogic practice is to achieve balance and it is much more than just completing some asanas daily. Yes, the asanas are the means to achieve balance to the body but they are not the end. But according to the ancient yoga texts and commentaries, yoga is much more about the mind than the body. The texts say that mind has energy that has the potential to control the happenings in the Universe. Thus it is a vital part of Yoga to bring balance to the mind. In order to achieve this, it is important to integrate the different modules of Hatha Yoga Training Curriculum as they have their own specific mechanisms on the mind and body.
Going slow in Teaching
Every individual learns with his/her own pace. The pace of teaching can make a huge difference for the teacher. There should be no pressure to learn quickly, and the student then can really understand and pick up from the teacher. Practice the philosophy, and then make the students know the meaning and then show them how it affects their life. The principle of progression brings the great success in the effectiveness in learning the different types of Yoga techniques.
Ask the student to choose what is suitable
The best way to learn is to choose what you love to do. Yes, it has been proven scientifically that we learn better when we enjoy the process. So, ask the student to choose any philosophy that he/she likes and let them practice the same. Once they understand it fully, you can go further. This way the student will learn better and the teacher will be popular for sure.
Create a Theme
Pictures always communicate better than words, and people get excited when there is a theme to what they are doing. It gives them purpose and the main reason behind everything with theme being successful in today's world. So, if you as a teacher can give a theme to your classes then it can take the teaching and learning to the next level. You can choose themes like "Flexibility" and base your yoga classes for the day on "How to make the body and mind flexible via Yogic poses and meditation".
Make the Learners Participate
Making the students participate actively in the class is one of the best ways to make learning fun. You can ask one student to lead the class today and some another student to be ready for tomorrow. This will create interest and healthy competition. Mixing various poses is another thing that participation can bring about.
Learn from the Learners
It is always best to keep learning when you are a teacher. Texts and Gurus are good sources to learn, but you can also learn from the learners. All the students will have a comfort in some asana or a kind of meditation, and you as a teacher can learn from it.

So, the conclusion is that teaching is an art which continues evolving. A teacher has to always be present in the moment and make it the most enriching one. This is what all the Yoga texts show and tell. Isn't it?
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