I want to discuss developing your teacher’s eye, whether you are a yoga instructor or not. We all have an inner teacher and we have to cultivate him or her.
I am a big believer in focusing on how it feels rather than what it looks like, but sometimes it’s nice to watch a video and get inspired by your own practice. Also, it helps me improve on certain poses and spot what I want to spot.
The important thing, especially if you will be teaching others, is to not obsess about alignment and perfection. Though the aim is to make sure poses are done correctly, you have to factor in an individual’s range of motion, injuries, and basic anatomy. Some people simply cannot do what you want them to do, and will never. Be careful to allow them to benefit from your class and make the practice about them. Equally, some may be caring for a sensitive knee or an injured shoulder. It is important to remember this so that you are mindful when adjusting or when you are deciding whether or not to adjust a student.
You also must be mindful of your own limitations on a given day. For example, in the video below, I was not turning my knee out as much as I normally do in Warrior 2 because I was getting a cramp but wanted to feel out the pose to stretch out what I was feeling. It was not painful, nor was I risking injury, I just adapted my pose. This will happen to you and your students. The point is not to look for perfection, it’s to look at making the practice stronger. Mobility is a focus, of course, but that will come with a strong foundation. We tend to become rather technical as instructors, and rightfully so. I place a great deal of focus on anatomy and alignment in my classes, but I always remember the magic, as it were. Sometimes I may be a bit too “hippie, flower power, tree hugger” from some. I also try to balance my teaching in that respect. Nevertheless, the intention is to open up each pose so that the student can take it from there and really connect with themselves and be their best Yogi. Does that make sense? Here is a nugget of philosophy that I have incorporated in my daily practice and mindset.
The Three-Part Yoga Power:
This is a concept I created for myself on which I base my practice and my teachings.
- Anatomical Foundation: Solid foundation, injury prevention, grounding, engagement, and lift. Understanding what is happening in the body, and being mindful in your movements.
- Mental, Emotional, and Physical Harmony: focusing on the breath and enjoying the pose. Where your mind goes, Prana follows. So don’t emphasise anything but lengthening and feeling. Do not obsess about your arms getting tired, or your thigh starting to burns. Just breath… Let everything flow and that will create the harmony
- Spiritual Peace: the moment it all comes together. You are connected to mother earth and father sky. You can feel the energies of the Sun and the Moon. Your focus is inward, and it becomes a place, feeling, and breath that is only yours. It’s your peace.
Enjoy Yoga! Make it your own. Always be mindful in your movements…
Happy and Blessed Living!