October 3, 2013

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Teacher.

Photo: Taro Smith

Like any art form, the more we know about it, the greater access we have to the full glory of that art form.

Think of a sport like football: if you have no idea how the game is played, then the game is only as enjoyable as, well, maybe the beer and chips on the coffee table. But once you know what’s going, on you can follow the excitement and a whole world opens up.

Yoga is no different. We can flow to the simple-to-comprehend: “Inhale do this and exhale do that” and we’ll sweat and become more strong and flexible, but the practice may not be sustainable, fulfilling or as enriching as it could be if we delved a little deeper into our understanding.

To get the most out of your yoga teacher and the practice of yoga, you’ll want to share a little bit of yourself and be curious.

First of all, it’s okay not to get it or understand what the teacher is saying—I’ve been there many a time with zero comprehension in yoga class.

It took me forever to understand half the things my yoga teachers were telling me, but after asking questions, I started to make some progress on my understanding. Most of us don’t want to disrupt the flow of class to ask a question and some of us are afraid to admit that we don’t understand.

But here’s the deal: most yoga teachers are dying for you to ask your questions! Not only do they welcome your questions, they are hoping you’ll ask!

I’ll never forget the time I was teaching at a resort in St. Lucia when a student from Queens, New York belted out in front of the British tourists in the room, “Amy, I don’t know what the hell you’re talkin’ about!” As jarring as it was, I was grateful for her feedback!

It’s not just questions—yoga teachers are also hoping for two-way communication.

A good yoga teacher will be sensitive to your needs, might remember your name, will make sure you are modifying poses when needed and sometimes might seem like she or he can read your mind.

That said, most times they still have no way of knowing what’s truly happening inside your body unless you tell them.

As a yoga student, you have the right to approach your teachers and inform them about what you have going on or to stop and ask a clarifying question!

You will have more control over your class experience when you communicate with your teacher about your fears, discomfort you’re having, injuries and/or questions. It will also help your teacher become better at what they do.

Come to yoga with an inquisitive mind and a willingness to share your needs.

You will get it all, if you simply ask!


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Ed: Bryonie Wise



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