In my last post on the topic, I gave three reasons as to why yoga teachers should not be doing a practice in front of a class and talking us through it, but rather should be looking at students and trying to teach us. Here’s two more reasons why yoga teachers should leave their practice at the door when entering the studio to teach.
Cueing. Sure, you may be cueing what you’re doing in your own pose, but is that what the class needs? You may cue arms level, fingertips reach toward the front wall in Warrior III. However, if everyone is already doing that but meanwhile their hips aren’t squared to the mat, and you can’t see it because you’re in the pose looking down at the ground, it’s a wasted opportunity to actually teach folks how to do the pose. This is why we as teachers walk around and look at bodies. I can’t tell you how many times I may audibly adjust one person, and see the whole class do the same correction. I was behind a guy a few weeks’ back whose front and back foot positions in High Lunge were switched side-to-side; that is, his forward – right foot was crossed over the midline of his body so it was to the left side of his left- rear foot. He couldn’t balance in the pose. The pose did nothing for him except to frustrate him. Cueing works, but only when it’s an appropriate cue.
Last, probably the biggest one: If you’re not looking at bodies, you’re not seeing how we may be about to hurt ourselves. Dangerous, yeah: people can hurt themselves doing the poses wrong. Your Warrior I at the front of the room may have looked great, but that guy trying it in front of me two weeks ago? His back ankle and knee were collapsing toward the floor, which could seriously hurt his knee. If you as a teacher don’t see that, you won’t know to cue the correction, do a physical adjustment on him, or even stop the sequence and demo the correct foot/leg position to the class.
So yoga teachers: leave your mat at home. Walk around the room. Look at bodies. And teach me something!