As I embark on creating a new Yoga Teacher Training - Slow Flow- a myofascial perspective - I have been reflecting on my aims and objectives for day 1 (and 2) of Yoga Teacher Training. Not the topics, they are easy. But, the more human aspect of dealing with the New Kids. Creating rules without rules and managing expectations without dumbing-down.
You are faced with a group of nervous and excited individuals who want to be there but know they have also committed to something big. They come armed with their experience of yoga and sometimes you will have to disarm them within the context of the syllabus you are teaching.
You will be met with many "In Iyengar" or "My teacher said" Or "Yin does it this way" and you simply cannot teach your syllabus form another trainings perspective. So, guidelines and standards need to be set in an open forum from the get go.
Here are a few things that I utilise. I would love to know what you would add to this.
1. Be open to explaining your training and experience. Honestly expressing your strengths and weaknesses. Ask everyone to express their fears at the start, finding commonality in those apprehensions. You can answer from your teaching experience, course content and past students experiences about how these fears can be assisted and educated.
2. Explain from the start that there are many times when you will not answer questions form students because - you were not there "My teacher said", or the syllabus is entirely different "In Yin. . .". Or their simply is not time. You will however, guide them in the course they signed up for. (So you had better know exactly what that is in great detail).
3. Set REALISTIC expectations for study and practice requirements. I don't know anyone in training who has 90 minutes per day to practice and then the additional study requirements. Make a minimum requirement between you all. IF someone does not have the minimum requirement time, they should maybe think about deferring.
4. Encourage team spirit and supervised peer learning with group and partner work from day one. Have them introduce their partner and give exercises to complete in unity.
5. Immediately make the course asana a little more formal, and uniform. Keep this fun and informative.. Explaining in detail why you are teaching this way. Explain that this is not the only way or the best way, but have solid reasoning behind your methods. Experiential learning has been their only learning mode until now, and at this point methodology need to be added.
6. Get students teaching from day one. It might just be to a partner, It might be silent, but delaying this only adds to their performance anxiety.
7. Get a bit of Anatomy into them from the start. The Respiratory system is a great day 1 adventure. Ask them to give you names of elements involved in respiration-everyone will be surprised at how much they actually know from basic Biology
when they dig for it.