30 Aug 4 WAYS YOGA ASSISTING WILL EMPOWER YOUR LIFE (AS WELL AS MAKE YOU AN AWESOME TEACHER)
Written by Troy Abraham ・ 5 mins
Yep, you’ve taken the teacher training classes and your vision of teaching to a class of yogis is in reach. As that day nears there is a mix of excitement, anticipation and that flutter of nervousness. But before you even take on that first class as a yoga teacher here is 4 reasons why yoga assisting will empower your teaching from 10-year yoga teacher Troy Abraham.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 15 years now and teaching for 10 years. In this time, I’ve been to classes in a wide variety of styles, seen all levels of experienced and inexperienced teachers and been fortunate enough to have worked with and coached hundreds of teachers in their path to growing as facilitators of this great art of Yoga that we all love and practice.
“In my time as a teacher and a teacher of teachers, I’ve always held an emphasis on assisting, seeing it as not just a remarkable way to interact with your students, but also a crucial tool in helping further students body awareness within their practice and a way to illuminate areas that may be disengaged/ over engaged at risk of injury or even simply limiting their practice’s potential.”
Furthermore, assisting someone has benefits that translate way beyond the studio/ classroom setting.
But, just what is “assisting” and why should we do it?
Assisting, to me, is quite simple: It the art of creating a space for the student to experience their deepest connection to their practice. Vague, I know, but this is by design… I have come to view the Art of Assisting as a way to more deeply communicate with our students, both from the hands-on approach and also, perhaps more importantly, in the way of energetic interaction.
Here is 4 reasons why assisting will change your yoga teaching.
- More Connected to the Physical Body
If we look at the most basic – the physical component – we can say that assisting is a way that we as teachers help students to come to their best alignment within the asana practice. Even if this was all we did, it would still be wildly beneficial, as we can help students to find more connection to their own bodies and physical practice. In this way, we can be a positive force for them having better posture in the studio, but naturally, this will translate to their every day as well… which is where I get interested!
- You Will Make A Lifelong Difference To Their Wellbeing
You see, when we are tuned into our students, we do much more than simply adjust their posture. In fact, I very rarely use the term “adjusting” when speaking to how I interact with my students. For me, this term is incorrect, and better suited for when I am adjusting my bike chain or adjusting my snowboard bindings – it’s mechanical and inhuman. When we approach students from the angle that we want to impact their overall well being, we create a much more meaningful interaction where what we do in the studio has ripple effects that may radically alter their everyday lives in a positive way.
- Intention Will Change Your Practice
In any assist, there must first exist an intention. An intention of how we want to approach our student, and also what we aim to give/ share with them. To do this effectively, we must work on being confident with what our internal energy is broadcasting because whether we believe it or not, we are always broadcasting our energy. Assisting can be positively self nourishing in the sense that it can strongly tune us into our own sense of self and how we interact with not just our students, but also the world around us, and has the potential to leave us better off as humans in the way we take part in our life and the lives of those around us.
- Stop Injuries To Students
I have encountered many teachers who have gone through training with no component of hands-on assisting, and some have cited Iyengar in that he believed teachers should not assist for the beginning of their teaching path, but today we have students who want to progress beyond their means, we have classes where we can’t always give individualized feedback or instruction and I feel that teachers need at least to be armed with the tools to step in and assist their students at the risk of injury that may occur from improper alignment due to lack of body awareness.
The beauty of the modern yoga practice is that we invite students from all walks of life without discrimination, and most modern humans can survive with very little awareness of their own body and how it all works. At the most basic level, an asana-based class can give students a wild new understanding of this amazing machine they are walking through life in, and with a strong sense of intention, we can impact the deeper levels of their lives to bring about true yoga, beyond just the verbal description.
Assisting is something very dear to my heart, and I have worked to develop and continually revise our Assisting courses at Power Living so that they offer the best access to feeling confident to work with your students in both a physical and energetic level.