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Week 7, April 10 – Freeflow discussion

April 16, 2013


This week’s discussion was more of a free flowing conversation that loosely focused on two themes: music and developing a playlist (a continuation of last week’s discussion), and various methods for improving teaching.

Music and developing a playlist
Since we covered this thoroughly last week, I will offer only my personal observation – I think we saw a wide range of approaches to music as a teaching tool, all the way from creating a new playlist each day – to those who prefer teaching without music. As Geri mentioned during the discussion, our students are likely to pick up on what we value – if we place a high value on music during class, our students will feel the same – if we value class without music, our students will find value in that approach as well.

Highlights from the discussion about becoming a better yoga teacher

  • Cue with clarity and economy of words. Try to eliminate filler words and phrases, i.e., “Okay, next we’re going to . . .”
  • What’s better “we” versus “you.”  For example, “As we draw our navel towards our spine,” versus, “As you draw your navel towards your spine.”  I think the consensus was to use “you.”  As Dorie said, using “we” can sound a little like kindergarten – “Okay students, now “we’re” going to paint with color.”
  • Audio or video recording class to hear your cues and see your teaching can be a powerful learning tool.  Someone mentioned that Claire Marks occasionally audio records her class and then takes it herself  – great idea.
  • Studio Live TV– the newest trend in yoga where classes are video taped and streamed live so people can remotely take the class. Students pay $5 to take the class and teachers make around $1 for every student who buys the class.
  • We talked about some tricks for teaching/cueing chataranga (see video – coming soon)
  • And of course there was the camel pose discussion and the unforgettable cue that won’t be mentioned here so as not to risk censorship of the blog. I liked the analogy that the pelvic girdle is like a bowl of soup and when you over-tuck the tail bone, the soup spills out the back and when you over extend the tail, the soup spills out the front. The goal is to find equilibrium.
  • Is it best to do teach from your mat and do the asanas with the class, or to get off the mat? The consensus was – as we mature as teachers, we’ll want to get off the mat more and see what’s going on in the class.  Sometimes for beginner it’s helpful to demo or do parts of the class.
  • It’s okay to stop the flow of class to demo and clarify a pose that students are struggling with. Keep the demo to 1-2 mins, and depending on the length of class, keep the demos to a minimum.  Consider using a student to demo the pose.

Kelly Moore’s follow-up email

Hi Everyone,
As a follow-up to our conversation on giving feedback, I want to share the framework I was given feedback during my certification process. Below are the categories that I received feedback on, first from myself as I watched my video and then from the certification team of several teachers. I found it really helpful to be able to observe and understand my teaching on these different levels. I’m happy to share more, should you have any questions.

• Connection to students
• Technical presentation, demonstration, assisting
• Sequencing & tempo
• Delivery: voice, articulation, emphasis & essential languaging
• Body Language (how the instructor presents)
• Ambience & set-up of room/studio
• Ability to speak to mind, body, spirit

See you Wednesday.


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