How to teach a mixed levels yoga class
Different students need different cues and guidance. Here is how you can guide confidently through a mixed level yoga class
[Personally, I do not like the word level, because a physically strong and flexible body does not mean that the foundation of energy, breath and mind work are established firmly yet. Our capability to perform an asana depends also on our energy and hormone levels on a specific day. But let’s stay with the word level for now for the lack of a better one.]
Did you know that teaching advanced students is actually the easiest? Beginner classes require more skill in clear, direct and concise cueing. Mixed level classes can add another layer of challenge.
Here are a few tips on how to master a class like this. To learn more about how to improve your teaching skills, get in touch to learn more about my Yoga Teacher Coaching or join one of my upcoming 200hr Yoga Teacher Training or Continued Education Programs.
- Prepare postures that allow for modifications.
- Teach the most accessible option first. You can say “We prepare for …” So while you cue in the beginners, the student who knows the post can already come in it. Keep in mind that they might have learned the pose from another teacher and it might look different from how you are used to seeing the pose. As long as they are safe here, I let them explore their own version, remind them about point 5 and keep on cueing as they might adapt some of your cues too.
- When holding a pose, hold the most accessible or an intermediate version yourself.
- Encourage students to listen to their body and breath and not to copy other students and/or you or get driven by their ego.
- Advanced students can be reminded to keep their Dirga and Ujjayi Pranayama as well as their Drishti and bandhas in place.
- If the student appears to have a stronger yoga practice than yourself, relax. They entered a student teacher agreement when they came to your class and they came to learn from you.
- If a student starts doing their own practice. Encourage them to trust the sequence and to check in with themselves why they want to break out your sequence. This is not to give the student no space for their own practice, but to ensure that they receive a well-balanced sequence and others are not carried away by their different or even distracting postures. If they choose deeper versions of the same asana category it’s usually fine. But if they turn every forward fold into a backbend, that’s another story. Trust your judgement for the safety of the individual and the group and remember that you are the teacher for this class and sometimes we need to use our authority to avoid injuries or distractions.
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