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Aside from teaching over 15 classes per week at multiple locations, what is one of the quickest ways to yoga teacher burnout? Always teaching a new class every single time you teach. Attempting to use your creative time and energy for a new playlist, new sequence, new peak pose, new theme is ultimately unsustainable. I get it - we want to share the breadth of our knowledge, share new transitions and poses with our students, offer the vastness of what yoga asana can offer, and what you can offer to your students. In order achieve this objective, does it mean we have to always teach something different?
There is another way. Let’s consider it.
What if the same student came to two of your classes? Would this student be disappointed if they practiced the same sequence? As a student, do I care if my teacher repeats the same flow? Nope, not really. I’m usually excited that a teacher offers the same poses or sequence again so that I can get more than 5 breaths to practice it one time. There is abundant value in repetition, it’s one of the best ways we learn. Your students have something to work on each class and when they see results, they know they are improving and get excited about that. Your students can also think less about what your cue means and drop more in their bodies and meditative state because they understand what you are saying and experience more than the pose. The class has now become more comfortable for them in the best ways possible.
Picture this: two different yoga teachers, teaching the same sequence, holding the poses for the same amount of time, to the same students. Are you going to get the same yoga class? Absolutely not. The teacher’s presentation, cues, theme, and personality are all going to contribute to your experience in that class and how you leave the class feeling. Teaching a powerful, transformative class is not just about your sequence, it’s also about your teaching.
How to teach the same class effectively:
Cue to that specific class. In other words, cue to what you see is missing and what is happening in that particular class. What is missing in the student’s alignment in Warrior III? Cue that. What is happening with the breath? Speak to that. The alternative is teaching from script, teaching on auto-pilot, which benefits no one. No matter what, when you cue to what you see is missing and what is happening, the class will always be unique and will always be different. The power is in the cueing.
Connect to the students who are there. The class will always be different because who you have in class, modifications you speak to, alignment cues as stated above, and the energetic personality of the class. Even you, and your energy, will be different that day. We are living organisms who are always changing and will bring forward something different on Wednesday than we did on Tuesday.
Make timing your variable. Perhaps you focus this same sequence on spending less time holding standing poses, and the next class you spend longer time in backbends, and the next class each chair pose is held longer than usual. The options are abundant. You can teach the same sequence, in the same order, and it will feel different because of what is being focused on, or not being focus on, during that specific class.
Have confidence in yourself. Trust that your students are getting something from this. One of the biggest pitfalls of vinyasa yoga teachers is feeling like we always have to be different, more complex, with more flash and flare to the practice. When this happens, it’s a potential sign of yoga teacher insecurities creeping their way to the surface. Whether you have been teaching for six months or six years, stand powerfully in what you know, accept what you don’t, and trust that as a teacher you DO have something to offer your students.
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