January is always a busy month for Yoga studios. We see an influx of both new and returning students. Oddly enough, this transition can put me a little on edge. While I'm grateful for a full class, the expectations for most Yoga teachers is to also take on the role of salesperson, customer support service and Yoga therapist.
In addition to welcoming back students who may of gone off their routine during the holidays, we are asked to be welcoming to new students; going through the protocol so that they feel safe and supported stepping into their practice for the first time. We have to remember class packages and membership options; point out the props and the bathroom; ask about injuries or limitations all while trying to remain calm and centered so that we can show up in an anchored way.
I offer these tips from my own experience and hope they are helpful!
1. Avoid the 'detox talk.'
We aren't toxic dumpsters that need to be purified and cleansed of sugar and alcohol. We are enough. We are whole. And we are the embodiment of divinity itself. Let students delight in the joy of being alive, even if that means a few too many Sugar 'n Spice cookies.
2. Keep it simple.
Keep your sequences simple; offer a full spectrum practice that incorporates a little bit of everything. Keep your themes clear and concise; trust, play and patience are a few that come to mind as we head into the new year.
3. Make expectations known.
Let everyone know what they can expect from practice that day. Be sure to explain the style and purpose of what you are teaching. When using Sanskrit, define terms and don't assume everyone knows what you are talking about. I think returning students will be grateful to hear these things again, too.
4. Center yourself.
Take care of yourself before you start teaching. Notice how your body reacts to having a bunch of new students or a busy class. Become aware of strategies that work best for you to connect to yourself. Placing my hand on my solar plexus and feeling my breath move into the palm of my hand is very grounding for me. So I offered it to students as well.