5 ways to get the most out of your yoga instructor.
So you go to a class of 10-15 people every Wednesday night. You love the studio, the class and the instructor. The instructor is very knowledgeable and mixes up a little each week enough to keep you interested and coming back. You practice the poses the way you always have, but you’re not sure if they are completely right, even though the instructor assists you at times. Sometimes you really want to work on a pose, but it doesn’t get included in the class. Sound familiar?
Certified yoga instructors are often a wealth of knowledge and that knowledge often gets under-utilized in a regular studio class. A good yoga teacher training program covers areas of physical yoga practice, nutrition, meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques), Ayurveda, yogic philosophies, traditional Chinese Medicine principles, anatomy and physiology, and much more. So chances are that your favorite instructor knows much more than what you see in class.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your time with your yoga instructor:
1. When the instructor asks for requests, speak up!
This is your chance to tailor a class to fit your personal needs a little. Not every instructor will do this, and maybe not for every class, but if they offer it up take advantage!! Even if you have an instructor that never asks for recommendations, try making one anyway. A simple, “I’ve been trying to get up into crow lately, do you think we could try it in class tonight?” is perfect.
2. Ask questions, ask questions ask questions!
Most instructors ask if there are any questions at the end of a class. Sometimes you just have to run to another appointment after class, but if you don’t stay and ask questions! Sometimes you might have to wait around for a few minutes for the instructor to have time for you, but it’s worth the wait. Don’t be afraid of asking a silly question, you’ll never know if you don’t ask!
3. Try a private.
They are a little pricier than a regular class, but a private with a good instructor is worth its weight in gold. And if you just schedule them once and a while, it spreads to cost out. Spending one on one time with an instructor assisting you in every pose, while you get all your questions answered is an awesome and invaluable way to advance your practice.
4. Share your story.
Instructors like knowing a little about their students. Maybe you’ve had foot surgery in the past and now you are able to balance on that foot again. Maybe you’ve always been afraid of a certain pose, but really want to work on it. We all have unique situations and stories, and sharing your stories, dreams, and goals with your instructor will give them more information to help you work through issues, and achieve your goals.
5. Am I doing this pose right?
Okay, this one could technically fall under number two, but is such an important one we felt it deserved its own spot. Sometimes you get stuck doing a pose a certain way even though you know it’s not completely correct. You get comfortable there and don’t want to change. But all of the traditional yoga poses, or asanas, were carefully designed thousands of years ago based on the effects and benefits for the mind and body.
So chances are if you’re doing a pose incorrectly for a period of time you are not getting the benefits, and could possible get injured if the alignment is way off. So why keep doing the pose this way? Just because it’s pretty? Because you don’t want to change? You’ll want to fine tune your poses and keep evolving them over time. Your instructor can help you do that.
So there are the 5 tips - if you know of others that have worked with you and your instructor, please share in the comments below!!