Friday, May 22, 2009

My take on; Demonstrating positions

I realize that when teaching yoga  there are pros and cons to demonstrating positions to my class, although personally I feel the advantages  outweigh the disadvantages. It may well be that when a student sees an position they may automatically feel "I'll never be able to do that" whereas if you verbally direct them they'll just try it without having any preconceived ideas.  A more challenging position when executed by the teacher may demoralize, and possibly seem like the instructor is "showing off". Demonstrating also takes time, and I confess I hate to think the students feel I'm eating into their time whilst I do yoga when THEY should be doing yoga (and for this reason I always make sure I demonstrate quickly!). 

However I feel that yoga is all about coming into contact with your body, to absorb the information your body is leaving you. In order to do this you have to turn your "rational" mind off to be able to plug into sensations. If the instructor is busy saying - ok put your right hand on your left ankle and your left hand......automatically the methodic, linear "organizational" left side of our brain becomes active and seeing as we employ the left side of our brain more than the right  it's often more potent and like a bully, crowds out the (possibly) "better" right half (the right side is all about what is going on NOW - it takes in all the sensations of the body - by touch, sight etc. and builds up a precise picture about the present moment in time). So by demonstrating the position first students are prepared; they know more or less what to do and how to get there, they can switch my voice off and concentrate on what they are doing, and on what THAT is doing to them.  I can talk a little less and they can feel a little more. 

I would be very interested in hearing what my students think about this! Do you have an opinion? If so I'd love to hear from you.  Yes, even if you disagree!

Just incase in Italian;

Mi piacerebbe tanto sapere cosa pensano i miei "studenti" di questa cosa - avete un'opinione? Se sì mi piacerebbe saperlo - anche se è diverso rispetto a quello che penso/faccio io!


giardigno65 said...

mi riesce difficile rimanere immobile, bellissimo blog ...

Andrea Villa said...

Non ci si può bagnare due volte nello stesso fiume. Se vita è movimento quello che mi piacerebbe fare è trasformare il mio movimento in danza. Dove trovare la musica se non nel mio respiro? Quale maestro di yoga ti guardo come un direttore d'orchestra (casualmente il mago ed il direttore d'orchestra utilizzano una bacchetta!) che mi insegni a dirigere il mio strumento, il respiro coordinandone i miei passi. Per questo non distinguo il direttore dall'orchestra considerando il primo e gli orchestrali come un tutt'uno: una danza -concerto in cui ognuno segua i propri passi e il proprio ritmo, lasciando che l'accordo sfoci, come fiume, spontaneo.

Mara said...

"Show, don't tell"... I really believe in this sentence!
Seriously speaking, I like your teaching: it's a perfect mix!

evelina said...

I really like your lessons both when you show and when you explain and when you help us : I think before doing any position it is important to absorb the concept of the action the beneficial and the purpose:ideally imagine it.
do not change at all!
thanks so much for the wellness you provide us during the yoga time.
ciao Eve

Tess Privett said...

giardigno - I always think of my blog as a kind of on-line magazine that is read by my clients, so it's a great pleasure to see an "outsider" here who is interested!
Funny isn't it how doing nothing (remaining immobile) is far more difficult than doing somthing/too much? Should be the contrary but for most of us it isn't.
Thank you for your comment. I do hope you continue reading my blog.

Andrea - as usual your comments are a joy and a suprise to me!

Mara - thank you.

Evelina -It was interesting what you said as my "maestra" sometimes makes us close our eyes (whilst standing in Tadasana) and imagine first what we are about to do - so obviously this is a useful way to prepare oneself for a position .

Your brain doesn't know the difference between what you have imagined and what you have actually experienced - and it's thanks to this that we have the power both for bettering the "simple" things in life imagining them first (like a yoga position) or even, seemingly more difficult, changing drastically a negative behavioural pattern (for example) that we'd rather do without.