5 Ways to Keep Your Students Engaged When You Teach Yoga
Article At A Glance
Try these five yoga teacher tips to keep your students engaged in your classes and eager for more of your own unique teaching style.
Most students have an insatiable hunger for practice when they first start their yoga journey. But some may fall prey to the repetition that most asana practices seem to have after some time. It’s natural for these students to become slightly disillusioned with their plateauing yoga practice.
But fear not! As yoga teachers, we can do plenty of things to keep our students engaged when we teach yoga so that they are constantly eager for more.
Yoga Teacher Tips: Here Are 5 Ways to Keep Your Students Engaged in Practice
If you scour the web for “tips for yoga teachers,” you’ll probably find a lot of information about how to cue safely and effectively, create a killer playlist, or give great assists. These tips are all wonderful and helpful, but they require you to have students before you.
But how do you keep your students coming back for more? Try these five yoga teacher tips to keep your students engaged and hungry for more of your unique teaching style.
Tip #1 for teachers – Add a Theme to Your Yoga Classes
A theme can completely change a yoga practice from ordinary to extraordinary. When you add a theme to practice, it gives greater depth and meaning. You are no longer just making shapes on your yoga mat. Instead, you’re finding balance or creating space, or diving within.
What is so wonderful about themes is that they are so unique and personal to you as a yoga teacher and, therefore, will become unique and meaningful, and personal to your students as well. And the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating themes!
So the next time you find yourself falling into a repetitive cycle of teaching similar material over and over again, pick a meaningful theme. Then watch how it transforms each pose and each cue that you offer.
Tip #2 for teachers – Change Up Your Cues in Your Yoga Classes
This might be one of the best tips for yoga teachers out there. As humans, we all love to take the path of least resistance. And as yoga teachers, we all fall prey to running on “autopilot.”
We could cue Tree Pose (Vrksasana) in our sleep. We know steps for how to walk someone through balancing on one leg. And we—more often than not—use the exact same words to make that happen.
While it’s wonderful that we have a solid foundation for cueing any given pose, it’s also important that we, as teachers, stay as mindful and aware as we ask our students to be throughout the practice.
This means we must turn off autopilot and switch up our language. We need to emphasize different aspects of poses to correlate with what we’re teaching in that specific class.
Every pose could have a million valid cues, but we don’t have the time to offer all of them in every class. We always have to pick and choose our words. But we should alternate which cues we offer in varying classes rather than giving the same ones repeatedly.
Our cues can also be tied into our theme to drive home that point further.
Tip #3 for teachers – Alternate Your Yoga Sequences
As teachers, we often fall into “autopilot” when we also sequence practices. We tend to follow a pattern that looks something like a warm-up, Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara), standing poses, cool down, and Savasana.
This is a very solid foundation for building a yoga sequence. But it doesn’t have to be set in stone. Is it required to practice Sun Salutations? Why not try and sequence a practice without them?
Or write a class with no Yoga Push-Up Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) or Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Switch up your usual routine (whatever your go-to may be) to see how much-untapped creativity you have within you.
Tip #4 for teachers – Add Variety to Your Yoga Poses.
Every yoga pose can be practiced to bias something (a body part, a muscle group, the breath, an emotional reaction, etc.), so adding variety can be the secret to the spice of your yoga teaching.
Maybe you add variety as simple as shifting the gaze in Tree Pose. Or maybe you focus on the chest (rather than the core) in Boat Pose (Navasana). Or perhaps you encourage spinal rounding in Downward Facing Dog Pose (rather than a lengthened back body).
There are an infinite number of ways to approach every single asana in the entire yogic repertoire. So rather than teaching one specific way to practice each pose, encourage multiple various ways to explore each pose.
Not only will it create spice and variety in your teachings, but it will also invite exploration and newfound movement patterns in your students. There will likely be plenty of “aha!” moments when a student stretches this muscle for the first time or feels a smaller muscle activate for the first time.
Tip #5 for teachers – Bring Them Back to Breath and Intention
The cornerstone of the yoga practice is breath and intention. So anytime you feel your students start to drift outside of their practice, re-engage them by inviting them back to mindful awareness of their breath and their intention.
Of all the tips for yoga teachers out there, this might be the most important. Constantly draw your students back into the present by reminding them of their breath and their intention.
The Takeaway on Tips for Yoga Teachers to Keep Their Students Engaged
While your yoga teacher training may have set foundational rules for how a yoga practice should be taught, don’t be afraid to break rules with intention and purpose.
Step outside of your comfort zone to spice up your yoga classes and keep your students engaged and eager for more.