As part of DYU’s yoga teacher training, students teach a mock classes to the public well before the program’s completion. Here is one student’s reflection on her experience with the exercise. Teaching yoga is a challenge. Before the training, I focused on the kind of music I could use, or what essential oil I could ‘wow’ everyone with; all the exterior things to add more mystique.

When you actually break it down, the purpose of a yoga class is not so much to impress students but rather, to deliver a transformative experience. It is not about flaunting the Sanskrit names for the chakras, but more importantly, to help people become embodied.

If the goal is to become more integrated, there are many ways to achieve that.  Teaching yoga is also a creative process. I designed a sequence to help people feel more grounded and practiced it on myself, then taught it to a few of my friends.  While the sequence itself was solid, I struggled to articulate how to get into and out of the poses.

I can tell you how to bake a cake or reset your modem, but this was a whole new way of communicating. I felt like I was trying to coach my blindfolded, elderly parent out of a slippery bathtub, and not finding the words to do so.  It takes skill to convey instructions in a way that is clear and concise. Praise to my previous teachers who made it look so easy!

I felt like I was trying to coach my blindfolded, elderly parent
out of a slippery bathtub, and not finding the words to do so.

I started my yoga classes with a meditation to calm the mind; followed by a lengthy warm up. Eventually, I taught a number of standing postures.  I held these poses for an extended period of time to build concentration and steadiness. “How can you remain centered within adversity?”

All told, the sequence was about 40 minutes long, plus a generous amount of time for savasana.

I practiced the sequence on myself again.  This time, I instructed it out loud, as though there was an audience in front of me.  I then taught the same class (with a few minor tweaks) to another group of friends.  Overall, I felt strong.  I no longer struggled with how to say the right thing at the right time. But rather, I knew what to say and was more available to the people in the room.  “Wow, they are actually following along and seem to be getting the hang of it!”

Teaching yoga is a challenge. It takes practice to become a skilled.  While I am certainly no master, I am noticeably better than when I first started this training.  I plan to teach more classes outside of class to gain even more confidence and experience. It’s working.