Yoga Teacher’s Toolbox: You are the Mood Manager

In this second installment of Teacher’s Toolbox, Verge Yoga founder Cara Bradley, CSCS, ERYT, offers up insight on how paying attention to subtle factors can empower you as a teacher and transform your students’ class experience.

I hope you found my first post of this series, You Are The CEO, useful in your classes. This month we will explore the different variables that change depending on the time of your class and where you are in your class sequence. You can learn to manage the mood of the class and offer your students a consistent and positive experience every time they practice with you.

Becoming aware of the many ways you can influence the mood of your class will help you consistently serve up a positive and empowering experience. Getting to know these variables will help you assess the energy in the room and make adjustments on the fly.

As you become more experienced with these ever changing factors, you’ll not only wear the hat of the CEO of the room, but also the Mood Manager. Lastly, this article is not about telling you what to do and when to do it. I am simply posing a few questions to spark your curiosity and to think about the energy in your classes so that you can become a master Mood Manager.

Good luck and let me know how you make out.

1. Class Time – The time of day your class is scheduled will determine the energy of your student and the collective energy vibe. Think about how your students may be feeling based on when the class is scheduled. Obviously, students will be more energized in the morning than in the evening — but how about at noon? Those students may feel more harried and rushed. Take note of some of the different variables and ask yourself the following question:

What is the energy level of students during classes that occur in the ______________?

  • Early Morning
  • Mid Morning
  • Noon
  • Late Afternoon
  • Early Evening

2. Music – Music can be a great way to either energize or calm your students. What and when you play music definitely affects the experience of your students. Remember, I am not going to tell you what to play and when to play it. I simply suggest becoming aware of the songs you choose and why you chose them at that particular time in class. Take a look at these nine intervals during a typical yoga class.

What types of songs serve my students the best during these intervals of class?

  1. Pre Class
  2. Integration
  3. Sun Salutes
  4. Warriors
  5. Balance
  6. Backbends
  7. Forward Bends
  8. Savasana
  9. Post Class

3. Voice – The pitch of your voice matters too! If you speak too softly at the beginning of class you may not be able to support your students in settling down. They likely need you to be a bit bold and crystal clear in order to calm their minds and stabilize their bodies. You’re not going to be too perky in the last pose or two either. Think about the pitch and tone of your voice during the nine intervals of a yoga class.

What should the pitch and tone of my class be during 9 intervals for a typical yoga class?

4. Lights – While lights may seem like an obvious element to you, sometimes as teachers we forget to pay attention them. You don’t want to be fussing with the lights too many times during classes but, as a rule of thumb, they should start bright to raise the energy, dim a bit when you hit the floor for backbends and then lower down even further during the end of class. In many ways, the lights in the room match the volume of your voice. Again, check out the nine intervals.

At what level should the lights be turned up or down during 9 intervals for a typical yoga class?

Next Month: You are The Educator

Cara Bradley is the author of On the Verge. She is a passionate teacher of yoga, meditation, and fitness who has been in the trenches of personal transformation as a “mental strength coach” for over three decades at her Verge Yoga Center, retreats, corporate training sessions, and with teams such as Villanova University and Penn State. She lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Visit her online at www.carabradley.net.

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