5 Reasons Never Teach from the Back of the Room

Yoga’s popularity and growth knows no bound. With new studios constantly opening and yoga teacher training filling Fabebook ads.
One of the fastest growing markets of yoga is Hot Yoga classes. These classes showcase teachers who use their voice alone to guide the class. Compare this with other yoga classes where the teacher sets up their yoga mat at the front of the class and while some will teach by example the entire class, other will move from demonstrating to walking and talking, and return back the front where their mat is.

There are pros and cons to both style of teaching, however, many hot yoga teachers seem to stand at the back of the room, behind the students screaming their instructions.

Here are 5 reasons why this teaching style is not only disrespectful but also devoid of building connections with students:

1 – When someone goes to the back of the room it indicates that they are hesitant, timid, shy and insecure. Is that the feeling you wish to leave your students with?
Face your own fears and stand at the front of the room.

2 – Yoga teaching is interpersonal communication. Do you communicate with your friends by sanding behind them and talking to them? How would you feel if someone was talking to you from behind?
Standing behind someone denotes a sense of superiority and dominance. Do you wish to subconsciously communicate to your students that they are inferior to you?
By standing in front of someone you are presenting a sense of connection, interaction, and respect.

3 – teaching yoga allows both student and instructor to discover that there is something larger than their individual sense of separation. When you stand behind you only reinforce the sense of separation.  Be part of the experience of discovering that place of peace, light, love and joy and stand in front of someone facing your desire to run away.

4 – Be the mirror for your students rather than to rely their reflection in the mirror.
When you stand in front of students you are able to be a reflection for them as to their unconscious habits.

5 – What exactly are you looking at? – let’s take the downward facing dog pose for example. Standing behind someone gives you direct view of student’s ass. Compare this with standing in front of them where you have a direct viw of their shoulders. Considering that DFD pose tends to put undue strain in students shoulders, you want to quickly identify this part of the body, rather than day dreaming about something else.

This last point I find most shocking, especially since the majority of practitioners are women who wear very short clothing. I have noticed in more than one occasion that male teachers standing in the back of the room are gazing at the groin of their students in poses where the leg is raised to the sky. Considering that there are more women teaching yoga, these suggestions might never have crossed your mind, but as a male yoga teacher trainer I find that once you seat students down and show them what it looks like from an observation perspective it becomes immediately obvious to the serious disrespect that can follow with such behavior. Whether male or female you communicate more confidence, with greater respect and ability to verbally correct body positions when you stand in front of students.

Remember, you just finished yoga training, allow yourself the confidence and create a space for trust between you and your students.

Gabe Yoga is the founder of H3 Yoga, an international yoga teacher training school that empowers teachers with tools and information that inspire and build universal communities. His training method and Hot Flow (BikYasa) program have been implemented in studios all around the world, from Thailand to Europe and the USA. http://www.gabeyoga.com

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