My Number One Tip for New Yoga Instructors
If you are new to teaching yoga, congratulations! It’s an amazing thing to become certified in yoga! I’m excited to share my #1 tip for all new yoga teachers, though this tip is also key for established yoga teachers too.
Teaching a yoga class has so many layers to it. Not only are we physically guiding students through a practice, but we are also gauging the room, potentially offering hands on adjustments, working with music, weaving in a theme… the list goes on!
Those of us who teach yoga know that offering yoga classes is a lot of work, but it is all worthwhile when you see your students get up from Savasana with that blissed out look on their face!
If you are ready to take your teaching to the next level, here’s my #1 tip!
-My Number One Tip for New Yoga Instructors-
If you want to become a great yoga teacher, learn and embody the art of cueing. It sounds so simple and yet very few teachers fully utilize this incredible tool. So many of us (myself included!) have long relied on posture names rather than actually breaking the posture down and providing options.
How often have you been in a yoga class when it’s
Inhale Upward Facing Dog
Exhale Downward Facing Dog
While this is the norm in many yoga studios, I believe we can all do better than that.
Rather, wouldn’t it be far more powerful to guide people into downward facing dog but saying something like
“As you exhale, tuck your toes and lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Press through your palms and fingertips as you guide your chest closer to your thighs. Take a moment to pedal out through your feet as you lower your heels towards the floor. This upside down V shape is downward facing dog.”
This explanation allows both a complete beginner and advanced practitioner alike to explore the posture and find what works for them. Also note that the cueing is inclusive. It does not say drop your heels to the floor or straighten your arms. These cues are invitations.
I believe that every yoga teacher should know 5 - 10 good cues for every posture and that pose names should be reserved for after we have given the cues. Of course in a power yoga context, breaking down the postures deeply in the first round is all you need and then as you continue to flow through the same movements you could rely more so on the pose names.
I, like many yoga teachers, relied on posture names heavily for many years. It wasn’t until I recently began my 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training that I realized how much I used the pose names as a crutch. In just a few months, I can feel my teaching rise to a far more encouraging and inclusive space as I cue effectively.
If you want to become an excellent teacher, cueing is a powerful area to focus on.
Have questions about this or comments? We’d love to hear from you below!