Don't leave the students hanging

I lucked out today. I had the day off, and jaunted off to the studio for a morning practice. Turns out I was the only one interested in taking a class at 9:30. Hooray!

I've taught private one-on-one classes, but have never been on the receiving end. Since I'm counting down the days until I start teaching at the studio, my teacher S. turned it into a flow/assisting workshop. He suggested giving me assists and then I would try them out on him.

Working with an experienced teacher revealed all sorts of ways to improve. He gave me some nuanced feedback on pressure, talking me through how to set up an assist before deepening someone into a posture and using the arch of my foot to press down on a student's foot rather than pinching with the outer edge. We even did frog. When done right, he showed me, the hips start to open even more. Ahh.

We discussed personal space, especially between men and women. He lets someone come to class for a week before he attempts assists beyond light contact. Most teachers know their boundaries, but it can still be a sensitive thing for some students. With that in mind, he gave me some alternatives for deeper assists in camel, when I might not feel comfortable kneeling face-to-face. Assisting can be awfully cozy. Basically: mind the body parts.

He also said to focus on the basics while teaching: breath, flow, alignment and tempo. Once I master those, then I can layer in spirituality and other elements. Do it too early and you'll break up the flow. He is a master of all those layers, so it was reassuring to hear from him that I did not need to go there just yet.

All that was swimming around in my head tonight while assisting. This time, I led 23 students through the balancing series. It felt a little clunky at first when the class was handed off to me, but I just focused on breath, alignment, flow and tempo. The time flew by.

Afterward, my teacher gave me some suggestions (also known as "opportunities.") About that flow: I held the poor intro students way too long on one side for airplane (I hate it when teachers do that! Doh.) I need to find new ways to explain what they should be working toward (don't dump your weight into your hip). I need to cut them a break and not leave them hanging in a pose. Have FUN.

But it was her first time seeing me teach, and she had praise. She felt ease in the way I spoke and liked that I found new, unique ways to say the same old things. She said I push students without making them feel pressured to do it, which will be a great skill for more advanced classes. She said she was so happy she was verklempt.

Now I call that a kick-ass day deserving of a kick-ass treat!


Maria said...

Lucky Nic!

lookrichbitch said...

Sounds like a great day to me!

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Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr