After completing your yoga teacher training, you are excited and nervous to get out and teach! As you run from studio to studio, teach last minute covers, write new lesson plans and practice your cues – it can very quickly become a huge energy drain. Most new full-time yoga teachers time experience an energy crash after 4-5 months.
Anatomy Taught in Yoga Teacher Training
A 200-hour yoga teacher training recognized by Yoga Alliance includes 20 hours of Anatomy and Physiology with “energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.)”. This aspect of yoga teacher training is an introduction to the ‘subtle energy body’ alongside the physical anatomy of Western science.
Use of energy anatomy can aid a new yoga teacher in their self-care. To understand your own energy and that of your clients is vital in the energetic exchange in the teacher-student relationship as you teach. You can become aware of studios, classes, and clients that you may need different tactics to work with to reserve your energy for others later in your day.
Putting Yoga Anatomy Into Practice
Our modern lives are centered around information, the rational mind, and technology. This fast-paced world has our minds spinning. We perceive that we have no time yet technology has given us more time – to think! We are just awash in our minds with information and thoughts. Build your experiential knowledge of the subtle energetic body to create cohesive classes and relationships in your teaching.
(1) Teaching a Yoga Class
Once introductions are complete (e.g. safety), always ground your class. This makes class control much easier by bringing you and the students into the same energetic space. It is important to be authentic when you teach as your energy transfers to the students. Some ideas might be:
1. Meditation on breath awareness or visualization of rooting into the floor.
2. Pranayama practice e.g. 1:1 breath of the abdomen.
3. Hands in Anjali mudra and focus on an intention for the practice.
4. Asanas that focus on grounding and draw awareness to the feet, legs, and tailbone in the poses.
It is easiest to select practices that you enjoy and find supports your self-practice to share in your classes.
(2) Yoga Anatomy in Assists and Adjustments
The easiest way to develop energetic sight is in your physical assists and adjustments. As you adjust physical alignment from the base of support up, you will notice the ease of unnecessary muscular tension when the prana flows correctly. Look at their breath – does it look like it moves through their body and into their auric field with ease? The breath is the easiest way to see the pranic flow in the body as it is the bridge of the physical, mental and spiritual bodies.
You might be nervous as a new teacher, but try to observe your clients as they enter the studio. This is to develop your energetic sight. Without judgment (like you are meditating), watch their body movements and how they interact with space around them. Perhaps you will notice emotions, sensations or different types of thoughts arise inside you – it may reflect your client’s energy. Use energetic sight to empower your relationship with your clients to inform you of their physical, emotional and mental energy.
1. What is their posture like?
2. How does their energy look?
3. Do you feel a shift in the room or you as they enter?
(3) Private or Group Yoga Classes?
At the outset of your teaching career, this can be simplified to: Are you an extrovert or introvert or ambivert? What you are will affect your energy exchange when you teach.
If you are an extrovert, then it is likely that you will enjoy the energy of teaching groups as they attention gives you energy. An introvert will likely prefer private clients as being with others can energetically drain an introvert. Start with what is natural and comfortable to you, then build towards the other to develop your teaching skills and confidence – if you wish!
An ambivert is in the middle of the spectrum. Your energy depends on the situation and people. You need to be more conscious to work this out. The secret is that if you feel calm you will be more energized than if somewhere/ someone makes you more nervous.
How to determine what suits your energy:
1. Before you leave know your energy that day. Then when you arrive at a new studio, scan how your energy feels. How does the lighting, sound, layout affect you? Do you feel judged by the studio manager and clients?
2. Specific people can drain or energize you. Notice if there are certain clients that affect your energy – not everyone you attract should be your client!
3. Allow sufficient recharge time before and after teaching classes that you find tiring and be mindful of your choices of what is true ‘rest’.
4. Outside of teaching situations may exhaust you so allow time for re-energizing from these moments before you teach.
(4) Your Self-practice
You may get caught up in the frenzy of teaching the asanas because of their physical complexity. But your own practice should build your relationship with your subtle energetic body too.
Each morning, connect to your subtle energetic body at each chakra and auric field. This is what YOU have for your day. Be mindful of this in your teaching. Settle into either your meditation seat or still lie in your bed. Notice the quality and amount of energy around your body. Be aware of the qualities this energy has and their quantity. There is no judgment in this.
Vocal projection arises when you talk a great deal more without sufficient water as you teach. To save your vocal chords you need to project like a singer and hydrate. Strengthen your Manipura chakra to let your self-confidence shine in your teaching. Practice kapalbhati pranayama to strengthen your diaphragm and solar plexus.
Demonstrations in class – be careful of your demonstrations to avoid injury. Jumping in and out of asanas can be very detrimental if you are not warmed up properly. This is a strain on both physical and energetic bodies. Ask more advanced students to take the front row in class and then use them to demonstrate postures during the class.
Allow for self-reflective practices at the end of your day to assess your energy and any adjustments that you make. Your week is cumulative energetically so what looks acceptable for one day, maybe too much if you do not have enough rest time on the days either side. Often 5-15 minutes of meditation can be a fabulous reboot and transform your perspective!
About the Author
Nid loves all her incarnations as an energy healer and coach, massage therapist, teacher of mind-body movement through yoga and Pilates, and blog writer. She is a passionate messenger on how to find your truth and live in alignment with your soul. Her work attracts people going through major life changes, long-term pain or health issues to discover how to live life with joy in mind, body, and spirit. She can be found working on retreats and online worldwide at http://www.omegamovement.org/.