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Teacher Training: Learning to Cue Asana

Linda Mattei, practicing jumping through a vinyasa, as asan lead instructor, Jessica Zerr gives instructions.

Yoga teachers seem to walk about with this amazing gift of knowing the right cue at the right moment for every pose! How does this talent, skill, awareness happen? How do they know to remind us to turn our whole arm in Ardo Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) or to notice the back edge of our rear foot in Trikonasana (Triangle)?

Cuing, we learn in teacher training, is the art of knowing all aspects of every pose, and also understanding the words that will encourage students to do the pose correctly. We all receive the same cues, but not everyone translates these words into actions in the same way. For example, does everyone understand what “square your hips” means? Furthermore, even if they do understand what it means, can they visualize and feel their hips properly in order to follow the direction and improve their posture?

For example, leading a room full of students to do their best Utkatasana (Chair), a yoga teacher might say “square your hips,” or “align your left hip with your right,” while another says, “put your hands on your hips and see if they are on the same plane.” While they all have the same intention, a yoga teacher not only needs to learn the pose and its specific details, she also needs to find the effective words to explain what she means.

To that end, in each of our teacher training classes, we break down– for almost three hours — one or two poses, watching each other to see the many variations (some people have a natural curve in their back, some people’s knees angle in) of bodies and the way different body types look in every pose. Each posture has two pages of notes in our teacher training books and we learn how to cue so our students will be safe, make progress, and understand what we are trying to communicate

As you can imagine, the vast majority of yoga teacher training involves learning every aspect of asanas so that when we do become teachers (if we become teachers) we know what we are looking for and how to explain both with kind and supportive words. Three weeks in to training and we’ve gone deep into Sukhasana (Easy pose), Marjaryasana (Cat) and Garudasana (Cow), and the poses that make up Sun Saluations A and B. It’s remarkable how much ease pose has to offer us, not only as practitioners but as teachers. You begin to realize how each one is a journey on so many levels.

So far it’s my favorite part of teacher training. I love learning the little specifics of each pose and I love playing with the poses to see how variations feel. Even if I weren’t becoming a teacher, I would find teacher training valuable just for this aspect alone.

Want to get the most out of your practice and who knows, find the inner teacher and voice to connect to your practice? Check out Honor Yoga teacher training, go to www.honoryoga.com/teacher-training.

 

Evan Madeo
evan@honoryoga.com
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