Teaching for the first time

inna constantini teacher training yogaThe hours are growing longer and the classes harder. Now in the final weeks of her teacher training course in Goa, nerves are tested as Inna Costantini and classmates start teaching for real.



After a few weeks of fairly 'passive' studying, listening, reading, sitting in lectures, trying to get a grasp on different aspects of yoga anatomy, philosophy and technique, we're now shifting towards a more dynamic and challenging part - the actual teaching.

After all, that's what this course is all about. Learning theory is fascinating (and there's so much more I want to learn), but it wouldn't really make much sense without practice.

Most students have already set their foundations in their own daily yoga practice, style and approach, and I can see that everyone views an feels yoga in a different way and will end up teaching it (if at all) in a distinct manner.

But for most of us teacher trainees, standing up in front of a class, talking through postures, explaining the movement, the breath, the flow, the technique, in a concise, clear and pleasant manner is no easy feat.

Just when I was starting to get comfortable with my adjustments technique, happily 'squishing' fellow students and people from the drop in centre, into paschimottanasana, downdog and most of the key postures, newer, bigger challenges are being thrown my way.

Teaching is daunting for most of us - more for some than for others - and also involves being confident in one's own practice.

However, being thrown to the front of a class, having all eyes looking towards you waiting for instructions, also feels somewhat empowering.

For someone like me who's never taught any form of class before, it could be much worse.

My fears of mumbling, being confused and unclear weren't justified, and I found myself projecting my voice to the back of the shala quite well (though with a conscious effort) and it did all make sense in the end!

Mind over matter. It can be stressful, daunting, but also so much fun when it goes well. All along, I never thought about the practical side of teaching and how stressful it might be for everyone.

I was apprehensive about the 5am wake-up calls (which I turned out to quite enjoy), the daily hour long pranayama sessions, anatomy and philosophy lectures, the physical strain of the daily exercise and yoga practice.

But I seem to have sailed through most of this, and the part I was the least concerned about, the teaching technique, is by far the hardest.

That's also where lies the success of a great teacher- make your students feel at ease, relaxed, and yet be safe when adjusting them an teaching postures. Know the meaning of yoga. Keep up a firm personal practice and keep on learning.

But most importantly, create an environment which feels unique and special for class.

No two teachers follow the same style, energy or routine, and each teacher will offer something unique to students - whether it's great adjustments, a relaxing practice, a soft, gentle approach or a fun dynamic class, there's a style out there for everyone.

And hopefully I'll soon find mine....


Read Inna's other blog posts:

Into the deep end in Goa

Slipping into yogic life in Goa

Half way to becoming a teacher



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