5 Ways to Prep for Teaching a Yoga Class

Teachers are flashlights. Our role is to illuminate a path for others to walk, instead of doing the work for them. Whether you’re teaching your 1st or 1,000th yoga class, your role is to hold space for others rather than developing a well-choreographed show. There are many variables to consider when constructing your class, so where do you begin?

Holding space for your students means shifting your perspective from your expectations for class to the potential in your students. Yoga is called a “practice” for a reason – there’s no right or wrong, no finish line. See the infinite potential of your students, without placing limitations on their potential.

What is “Holding Space”?

Breaking it down…holding, includes care and support. To hold something is to meet its current form, and space implies an expanse, a sense of freedom. A space is a place of potential, a place where things can happen.

To hold space is to create and maintain a place where things can exist, expand and grow.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

Every class you teach is a completely unique, co-created experience, so approach your preparation without fear of looking inadequate. You didn’t handout copies of your sequence prior to teaching, so don’t worry if you make a mistake. Giving freely of yourself without expectations is the definition of generosity. Holding space for others requires generosity. Why not be generous with your vulnerability?

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
― Brené Brown

2. Create Creative & Inspired Sequencing

Instructors prepare to teach in different ways. You may be a spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants instructor or you may be a bookworm yogi that researches and practice teach ahead of time. Whatever your style, trust that you are well-equipped to teach. Keep up your personal practice and continuing education. Prepare a well-rounded sequence that offers the flexibility you need to meet students as they are and how they are on their mats. Sequencing for your class includes more than the physical asana practice. Consider how you will integrate music, theming and cueing.

3. Hydrate & Nourish

Whether you teach hot, sweaty yoga or enjoy a cool and calmer vibe, no one wants their instructor to pass out while guiding students. Carry a water bottle with you and refill in between classes to stay hydrated.  Fuel yourself properly. Eat a few hours before to digest ahead or grab a quick snack to tide you over until after class.

4. Get In, Get Settled, Get Grounded

Avoid rushing to teach! A common mistake that teachers make is arriving right before class starts. Arrive early and ground yourself physically and mentally before class. Sit in the studio and meditate. Visualize your students thriving, growing, and having fun! Ensure your studio is clean! Remove clutter and adjust the temperature and lighting for your format. Set up your mat and all props ahead of time to be ready to greet your students as they arrive.

5. Teach to the Middle of the Room

Whether you’re leading a beginner or advanced-level class, you will see varying skill levels in your students, so approach your students knowing their boundless potential and teach to the middle of the room. Instead of walking in with expectations as to how you believe each student will perform, set up your classes to hold space for possibilities rather than limiting their experience. Variations can be directed towards either end of the experience level. Point our possibilities, challenges or even can progress a beginner or advanced student on their mat.

Holding space for your students is working to their agenda, not your own. Your expectations influence the behavior of the students in your class. If you decided to become a yoga instructor so you can change others, I hate to disappoint you. Change only happens when the desire to shift is there. So, continue to embrace your vulnerability, think with a beginner’s mindset and find joy in the connections you make on your mat.

Adrienne started practicing yoga when she was working in the corporate world. She traveled constantly and always looked for ways to keep healthy and active while on the road. After completing her RYT-200 Power Yoga Teacher Training she was hooked! She completed her RCYT-95 as well as her RYT-500 Advanced Yoga Teacher Training. A mother of two girls, Adrienne has dedicated her time to deepening her practice and connecting with her students (especially families & kids!) on ways to allow their yoga experience to ripple into all aspects of their lives. Throughout Adrienne’s trainings, her passion has led her to co-found FamilyFlow Yoga®️. FamilyFlow Yoga®️is one of four accredited schools in Illinois to offer a 95 Hour Registered Yoga Alliance Children’s Yoga Teacher Training program. Adrienne teaches in yoga studios, fitness clubs, boutique studios, as well as in school and after school yoga programs. FamilyFlow Yoga®️ has become an expert in offering continuing education programs and workshop for yoga instructors as well as schools’ staff and administrations. She's committed to helping people reach their full potential both physically, mentally and emotionally.

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