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How I lost 100lbs in 9 months – Part 2

Teaching Hatha Yoga: Designing a Lesson Plan – Part 1

Which asanas, or Yoga postures, should you select? How long should you hold each Yoga posture? What is the benefit of holding a Yoga posture for minutes at a time?

Should you start or finish a Yoga class with meditation? How should you incorporate Pranayama within your Yoga class? These are some of the many questions that Yoga teachers must address and find solutions for.

Which asanas or Yoga postures should you select? Some Yoga posture sequencing is considered so important that a few Yoga teachers and Yoga Masters have gone through the trouble of patenting and copywriting them.

This is still a hot topic in some Yoga circles, but sequencing should ideally contain a mixture of standing, seated, table, kneeling, balancing, prone, and supine Yoga postures.

This may not always be possible, if you are teaching a specialized class, such as Chair Yoga or Prenatal Yoga, but a wide variety of Yoga postures will have a multitude of health benefits for mind, body, and spirit.

On the surface, we know that Yoga helps us live a better quality life – with improvements in pain relief, the immune system, circulation, removal of toxins, and a change to moderate dieting habits.

Therefore, any Yoga is better than no Yoga at all. This is why it is good to tell your students to add a small daily Yoga routine to their lives.

If they can practice Yoga longer, that’s fine; but new Yoga students may have trouble fitting Yoga into their lives for 15 minutes a day. This shows you how busy they are all day.

How long should a student hold each Yoga posture? If you are teaching a Restorative, or Iyengar style, Yoga class, the postures will be held for a while. The purpose is for the above-mentioned health benefits for developing strength.

Most people think of Yoga as a “stretch class,” but holding postures for more than 20 seconds starts to test the strength of your muscles. As the time gets longer, your muscles let you know they are being worked; and this is much less friction than joints are exposed to by many other exercise methods.

A Vinyasa style Yoga class will not hold postures for long, but Vinyasa classes are aerobic, while enhancing muscle tone and flexibility. Some Vinyasa Yoga enthusiasts insist Vinyasa is the ultimate cross training method.

To be honest, most of the Vinyasa students I teach are, on average, a generation younger than my Restorative Yoga students, and my Chair Yoga students are a generation older than my Restorative Yoga students. Therefore, the type of Yoga sequencing should address the health conditions of your students.

Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

What Should a Hatha Yoga Teacher Know? Part 1

Most of the time, prospective Yoga teachers have a very strong foundation in Yoga; but sometimes, they originally come from a related-field, such as Martial Arts, Pilates, Dance, Gymnastics, or Fitness. This is fine, but be prepared for a “learning curve” and do not expect to learn all about Yoga in one Yoga teacher training intensive course. Even if you “lock yourself up” in an ashram for months, you should realize that learning Yoga is a life-long journey and not a race.

Now, if you come from a related field – you have a lot more mental work to do than a long-time student of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is a physical form of Yoga, but being athletic is not as important as the knowledge a Yoga teacher should possess. So, what should you know in order to become a Yoga teacher? Below is a list of what a Hatha Yoga teacher should know in order to successfully teach Yoga classes.

Anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology should always be covered during a Yoga teacher training session. Yoga student safety is especially an important issue for those who will be teaching Yoga. Students are always physically different, and Hatha Yoga practice can be made to adapt to anyone – regardless of age or physical ability. Anyone who desires to teach Yoga should have a complete understanding of how the physical body works.

Asanas are the postures held during Yoga practice. Hatha Yoga teachers do not have to know hundreds of Asanas to teach a Yoga class, but they should be very familiar with 26 to 100 different Yoga postures – depending upon the style of Yoga. Yoga teachers should be able to design a lesson plan using these postures, their variations, and the many other aspects of Hatha Yoga teaching.

Yoga teachers should know how to give Asana modifications to their students. Sometimes, this could be advising a Yoga student to use a block, strap, bolster, chair, ball, blanket, or any other prop for proper alignment and safety. Other times, this might be giving a Yoga student an alternative variation of an Asana.

Yoga teachers should be familiar with contraindications for Asanas; which are cautions that can be related to a specific Yoga posture. This is very important when working with Yoga students who are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or have a specific ailment.

Yoga teachers should take the time to be familiar with each student and his or her particular health condition. This means researching health conditions that Yoga students have and staying on top of your own continuing education. After becoming familiar with an ailment; learn how you can help, but never give medical advice.

No Yoga teacher should ever put a student at risk. The body of a Yoga student cannot be forced into a position that a Yoga teacher feels is correct. Instead, the body is gently guided to its natural limits, without pain and little discomfort.

Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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