5 Tips for Yoga Instructors

It was so great to be featured on www.pursuitofyoginess.com.  I hope you have a chance to listen to some of the other amazing podcasts.  After the podcast, Rudie thought a few tips for yoga instructors may be helpful and I happily agreed.  Here’s my top 5 tips:

1.  Set the tone. Spend a moment coaching optimal breathing mechanics and alignment. Talk about the importance of the 360 degree expansion on inhale. Encourage a posture check when standing in mountain pose. If you’re noticing a forward head, an internally rotated shoulder or lumbar lordosis, give cues to help put your participants in optimal alignment and encourage them to continue to focus on it outside of class as well.

2. Stop with the crunching madness! The abdominal crunch places a lot of load on the cervical spine, an area that many people have issues with because of their poor posture, increased sitting times and improper use of technology. We’re putting our spines out of alignment by craning our necks forward putting us in constant cervical extension, straining the upper traps, suboccipitals and surrounding musculature. The crunch just aggravates this already poor posture. Many of our clients have limited time to train and instead of reinforcing our already shortened anterior musculature, the emphasis should be placed on the more important transverse abdominus, multifidus and deep core stabilizers that improve overall stability and power. Think neutral spine. Planks and bird dogs are excellent.

3. Plan 75% of your class. Note what sort of movement deficiencies you see. If most are having difficulty with a proper squat or updog, spend time at the end of your class coaching movement correction.  Break down the movements into small chunks and practice one section at a time until you can build into the full expression.

4. Be picky. If you notice half of your class participants aren’t using proper form, stop and coach the proper movement. You might prevent future injuries and your participants will appreciate the in depth coaching. Give them the cues they need. Teach them how to move well. Don’t be afraid to use technical terms. Use proper terminology for muscles and movements.

5. Always keep learning! Feel like your anatomy isn’t strong? Take an anatomy course. Review your notes often. Interested in biomechanics? Sign up for a course. Do you admire certain experts in the field? Follow them on social media. Attend conferences, listen to podcasts, take advantage of online learning options, and stay relevant in your field. Hire a coach and work on your own movement/strength deficiencies to stay balanced.

Hope this helps!  Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

Sarah Zahab BSc., R. Kin, CSEP-CEP

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