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!