Rox Does Yoga

Yoga, Wellness, and Life

Home Yoga Class # 1 August 19, 2011

Filed under: reflections,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 2:10 pm
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This week I taught my first of a regular series of free yoga classes held at my home. Our house has  a nice big enclosed front porch that’s perfect for yoga: we can fit up to six mats lined up two by two, and it’s a tight fit but it works. For the first class I had five students, a good mix – a couple of brand-new beginners and a few more experienced people who hadn’t practiced in a while.

Overall I think the class went well. There were a few logistical problems. We started late because several people had traffic trouble, but that’s easily fixed for next time – we’ll just plan to start 15 minutes later to give people more time to get here after work. One person got stuck in really bad traffic and then got so lost that she missed two-thirds of the class and had to call for directions, which was unfortunate and a little disruptive but wasn’t something we could have foreseen or avoided. Starting later next time will help, and we looked at a map together after class to make sure she knows some alternate routes to get here. I put on music at the beginning of class, but I found it distracting, and my little ipod speakers weren’t loud enough to really project to the whole room, so I won’t use music next time. We’re thinking about getting a new stereo anyway so I’ll just see how I feel about it then.

In terms of my actual teaching, I was definitely nervous. I didn’t walk around the room at all and spent more time than I’d planned demonstrating poses myself, which we didn’t have much room for. On the other hand, one of my beginners was at the front of the room and I wanted to show her what to do. Next week, I think I will arrange people more consciously, both to use the space better and to make sure the beginners have someone they can see (because if we end up with six students instead of five, there will definitely not be room for me to demonstrate poses). I still struggle with timing – how long to leave students in a pose? – but that will improve with time. There were things I neglected to mention in each pose: alignments and cues, and info about what the pose is actually stretching and why that’s good. At the end of class, several students mentioned that they’d like to be adjusted more – I was definitely holding back there, not wanting to do too much and trying to focus more on verbal cues. So adjustment is something to work on in the future, since it’s something my students want more of and something I need to practice doing.

On the positive side (see how I saved this for the end!), I think it was not a bad class at all and would have been passable if it had been taught at a real studio to paying customers. I have my “yoga teacher voice” down, and I feel like everyone could hear me well. I did give good verbal alignment cues on many poses, and I did talk about the benefits of some poses. I mentioned breathing pretty frequently (although I need to walk around more and teach ujjayi breath, because I can’t actually HEAR anyone breathing, which would help me to know that they are in fact doing so). I think I did my best teaching, surprisingly, in savasana relaxation, which is the one part I had not planned at all. I did a guided relaxation, which felt right to do in the moment, and which at least one person commented was helpful. I plan to do this again next week.

The best sign is that my students seemed to enjoy the class and feel positive about it afterwards. One of my beginners said that she really enjoyed the half sun salutes, that it seemed to flow really nicely, so that made me happy (since half salutes are becoming one of my own favorite things to do). Another person is coming to my house (west of Philly) from his office in center city, and after class will be taking the train back to center city and then catching another train home to Trenton, and seemed to judge the long commute for yoga to be abundantly worth his time. I didn’t realize that this person was coming from so far, and his excitement and commitment are really inspiring for me.

So, to sum up: I am already learning a lot from my five students! I’m excited about trying again next week!


7 Responses to “Home Yoga Class # 1”

  1. heather Says:

    i’m so glad you’re doing this! i need to get off my butt and do it too. how did you go about planning your class & how long was it?

  2. R. H. Ward Says:

    It’ll always be an hour-long class. Gives me something consistent to plan for. Classes at my studio are 1:15 hours, and I’ve been to 1:30 classes, but I feel like that’s a little long.

    One of our assignments for TT a while ago was to come up with an hour-long sequence for a beginner class, so I just used that and modified a bit. I feel like the sequence itself isn’t so hard to do, it’s always going to be: some kind of warm-up (rabbit, cat/cow), half salutes, full salutes, standing poses, balance, seated/twist, inversion, savasana. And the standing poses won’t vary too much, I’m always going to do warriors and triangle, it just depends if I want to swap in one or another of the other poses (like last week I did head-to-knee, and I don’t think I’m going to do it again, might do revolved side angle instead). Last week I wanted to do chair pose but chickened out, so I’m definitely going to do it this week. Balance poses will vary a little (I did tree last week but am considering dancer or half moon this week), seated poses will vary a little. It might be nice to consider focusing on a theme, like hips or shoulders, and then choosing hippy or shouldery poses for standing and seated so the theme runs throughout, but I don’t think I’m going to try anything fancy just yet.

    I thought you were doing some practice teaching, like out in the park? Regardless, you are clearly not on your butt lately, you’re kind of moving house right now. You’ll get to it!

    • heather Says:

      i got one park class in. saturday mornings turn out to be a time when no one will show, so my second class was… underattended. 😉 then the next one i planned got rained out. i have a new date for a class & a general plan for it. hoping to get a practice run-through of it in once the move is done.

  3. Julie Collier Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    I am looking to begin a small, in home yoga practice to grow a client base before opening a studio. Your blog is very inspirational.
    Do you know if there are any liability concerns when hosting a yoga practice in your home?

    • R. H. Ward Says:

      The quick answer is: YES!! There are definitely liability concerns when teaching students in your home (or at a studio, or a gym or anywhere!) and you should consult with a lawyer to make sure that you’re covered. I did not accept payment for my in-home yoga classes, as they were a part of completing my yoga teacher training. If you plan to charge money for your classes, it will be a different situation and the rules are different. At the least you will want to be registered with Yoga Alliance and to have yoga teaching insurance (cheaper if you acquire via Yoga Alliance). You will also want to have some sort of waiver that each student will sign. The community at Yoga Alliance can be very helpful with these sorts of questions also. Good luck!

  4. Julie Collier Says:

    Thanks for the GREAT ADVICE!!!!

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