One of the things I struggled with the most when I was studying my yoga teaching training was mirroring. Mirroring is when a teacher gives directions to a class, copying the same action, but opposite of the students. For example, telling the students to raise their left hand, while the teacher raises their right hand. It's easier for the students to follow, simply copying the teacher.
When you first start practice teaching, it's easy to get the rights and lefts all fumbled up and it's incredibly frustrating. Add a difficult pose to the mix with twists and binds, like Garudasana or Gomukasana, and then you're sure to get scrambled.
I was told a few tips and tricks, but the most memorable was to imagine a floating "R" in the left corner of the room, and a floating "L" in the right corner of the room. Nothing really stood out to me, so in the beginning, I demoed the tricky asanas side-on when it served my class. I felt more confident giving clear concise cues while I practiced true mirroring in the simpler asanas like Vrksasana, Warriors and lunges.
I've been teaching Mums and Bubs yoga for a year now. I love teaching the class because it's challenging as hell, but super rewarding. I love babies, I've always been drawn to them. Having a room full of cooing bubs is totally my happy place. The moms arrive in varying states of mind, ranging from insomnia zombie to frazzled most mornings, but if I do my job well, they leave with messy hair and a smile on their face.
Often times the bubs get fussy, overtired or hungry during our 11:30am-12:30pm class. If there seems to be a problem that I can remedy, I try to do so. I usually push a dummy back in, give the bub a head rub, or sometimes I will pull him/her around on their blanket for a mini magic carpet ride around the studio (all while talking my students through Surya Namaskar A.... it's harder than it sounds).
Most of the time, I end up picking up an unsettled bub in the hopes that mom can get a few more minutes of yoga in. Joke was on me, let me tell you. This meant no hands and no demoing because of the precious cargo I had. Boy oh boy did I have to learn how to teach well without doing the asanas with my students. I had to really look at my students. Not that I didn't look before, but I had my entire body at my disposal to show them what we were doing and how to get there, step by step.
It took my teaching to a whole new dimension. Their bodies told me everything I needed to know about what parts of their body needed more work, strength, flexibility and movement. Since my hands full, I had to give tons of verbal cues, "Scoop the buttock under, reach the tailbone forward, slither forward into your baby cobra while squeezing the elbows into the side of the body." Mirroring is tough, but teaching without movement is more difficult. Looking at the bodies in front of me helped me decipher when the "R" foot needed to move and when the "L" hand needed to reach up for the sky. I categorized the movements methodically in my mind. The students were puppets, my mind the master puppeteer while my hands where hypothetically tied behind my back.
I'm so thankful to have had the experience, and continue to every week. I'm a better teacher for it, and the cuddles aren't too bad either :)
Yo, I'm Erica
I'm Erica: a globe trotting Pinterest addict, sushi enthusiast, craft beer drinker, yogini, wife and mum.... not in that order.