The central irony and challenge in teaching yoga is that the essence and mechanisms of yoga asana practice are largely internal and invisible to you as a teacher. Your role as a teacher is limited, relying on your ability to give clear instructions about the breath, alignment, energetic actions, variations, modifications, use of props, risks and techniques for finding greater ease and stability in each asana and transition.
There are a variety of ways of learning that require a varied approach to teaching. However, the students individual motivation, personality, emotions, physical health and personal will are more significant than a particular learning style in shaping how, where and when they learn. Effective yoga instruction takes into account these variables in engaging with students while still appreciating the below styles:
Verbal / Linguistic
Voice & Language
Balanced Alignment Cues Deeper Refining Cues & Individualising Instruction
Visual / Spacial
Bodily / Kinaesthetic
Types of Physical Adjustments
Touch Techniques & Depth
Workshops inc Manual
LEARN TO LOOK & SEE
Self-reporting is not a guarantee that you will get accurate or complete information on the students condition. Your ability to accurately see students in asana starts with learning to see bodies more generally, training the eye to see different bodies from various perspectives.
Since every student is different, you need to give both general guidance and individual suggestions that address the unique experiences of different students. See and hear your students in their practice. Notice challenges to their alignment, the quality of their stability and ease, their attentiveness. Relate to them meaningfully and appropriately based on your perception and understanding, rather than memorised words.
Is everyone going in the same direction? Look to see if your instruction was carried out. Observe carefully, not just the physical structure of the pose, but also the students’ state of being. Through experience you will learn to notice the subtleties which reveal resonance or dissonance with the energetic form of the posture. Observe eyes, facial expressions, complexion and breath. Distortions, dissymmetry or unequal weight distribution will be easier to spot but other things are less obvious, especially emotional or psychological trauma suffered in the past.
Teach sensitively & systematically.
Teach from your experience, acknowledging your own personal abilities and limitations.
Before teaching, know what you are going to teach and how you will teach it, understanding the target areas of the poses.
Practise first, reflect on what flows easily and not so for you.
Continue refining your knowledge and skills.