Upgrading your Teaching Skills
In an effective classroom, students should not only know what they are doing, they should also know why and how.
For more than 15 years, the main focus of my yoga teaching has been to train the next generations of yoga teachers. This work is a real privilege and a great responsibility since teachers embody the tradition and spread the teachings. It is very simple: How yoga is perceived and to what depth it is practised depends primarily on its teachers. I have chosen this field very consciously, in order to step up as a senior teacher and to help preserve these liberating teachings.
Yoga is a tradition in motion, not a fixed and stale relic from the past. The fine line we are treading as teachers is to capture and share the essence and transformative power of these teachings, as well as making them relevant and accessible to contemporary students. This balancing act requires, first of all, a good grasp of the values, goals and techniques of yoga,and then adaptive creativity to communicate them effectively to the students. Yes, it is necessary to study for this, to practice, to constantly broaden our horizons – but that is the Fun. It is alive!
Teaching and embodying a tradition is a multi-faceted endeavour, especially if that tradition stands for high spiritual values. A good teacher has insight and compassion, brings a lot of experience and humble failings to his or her teaching, constantly keeps upskilling and upgrading his or her knowledge, and is at the service of the students. All learning is based on trust, and we as teachers, have to earn that trust every moment. My dear friend and colleague Lance Schuler calls this: “presenting excellence.”
Over the past 30 years, I have taught hundreds of teachers around the globe. In my
mentoring work on teacher training programs, I have literally been part of thousands of
teaching-tutorials, watching students teach, and giving compassionate, empowering and
constructive feedback. This part of teaching is one of my favourites: it is immensely fulfilling to see people grow and step up. In my experience, this part of the programs has the steepest learning curve, and transforms much more than just teaching skills. Hence, I have made ‘Upgrading Teaching Skills’ a subject in itself, and am available for such courses.