This new course takes us into the realm of the relationship between yoga teacher and student, yoga therapist and client. We’ll discuss the everyday reality of what it means to BE a yoga teacher, not just lead a yoga class. It is a role with responsibilities different than others in our lives, and just like any other it benefits from mindful reflection and well-honed relationship skills. It doesn’t matter what style of yoga you teach, every one of us has to interact with our students to be of service. We must be able to listen and ask questions to get to know them and their needs, and also be able to set boundaries to manage our time and energy. We all need to know how far we can go in being of service, being friendly, and how to maintain the seat of the teacher when we start to go too far in extending ourselves.
Whether we feel energised or exhausted, consulted or stolen from in-exchanges with our students affects our quality of life and willingness to keep giving. Boundaries for each kind of relationship vary (teacher, friend, lover, family member, etc.) and getting it right (or wrong) takes establishing good habits for the long-term healthy outcome of your life and career. We recognise the need to regularly top up our teaching skills, but we’ve not established the good practice of refining our relationship skills. Here’s a good way to start.
This course aims to fill a gap in the skills training that all yoga teachers and therapists need and need reminding about: how to relate mindfully and skillfully with our students. Ask yourself: do you ever struggle with how to set limits with your students in their requests for extra help with conditions in conversations before or after class? Do you wonder how far you can go in offering extra help, and do you feel you need to know more in order to be more helpful? Do you struggle with how and when to say “no?” Do you wonder how to ask and respond to emotions experienced in class? To invitations to tea, or a date, or a hen do?
- We’ll draw on ethical standards for yoga teachers and therapists and make them come alive in small group scenarios in order to face these issues with support instead of all alone in the moment
- We’ll practice observing, listening, and asking questions to learn something about our own habits, perceptions, and beliefs. These colour and limit our comfort and competence zone, so we’ll also practice moving beyond them
- It’s not financially easy to make a living as a yoga teacher. Many of us have issues with money. How do you ethically and practically advertise your services, extend your scope of practice, and get cover when you are ill?
- Yoga therapy is becoming trendy. What does it mean to be a yoga therapist? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you need in order to move into this role? Do you want to? What’s the difference and what’s the same in yoga therapy and working 1-2-1 with a student as a yoga teacher?
This workshop will draw on and integrate the yoga tradition of teacher-student relationships and the western cultural expectations of teachers and therapists. Both have insights to offer and incorporate. It’s necessary for us to reconcile for ourselves different standards in order to make conscious choices and put them into practice where we actually live and work.
The workshop will involve reading, discussion, pair and small group work, and guided self-reflection practice. Yoga is inherently a relational practice and it has always taken as its remit the big questions in life. Embody the tradition with conscious intent in the support of sanga.
This training is also a mandatory module for the Yoga Therapy Diploma course
STATEMENT of INCLUSION
A genuine welcome and appropriate support for women considering attending any of our courses from Uma:
“Please know that I warmly welcome all women of all stages of life to my courses. My assistants and I and make every effort to ensure that everyone is genuinely supported and honoured by providing appropriate practices during courses, retreats and workshops.
There is no exclusion from practice or teaching space on account of womanly needs. For example, menstruating women are offered suitable practices to support their bleed time, menopausal woman are given opportunities to rest and/or adjust room temperature as necessary, and pregnant women are provided with the props and time and space they need to be at ease in the learning/retreat environment.
Lactating women are welcome to express milk, and/or to feed their children in comfort in the main class space if they chose, or to be provided with an alternative comfortable and appropriate space to do so. Lactating women will never be asked by myself or any of my assistants to go into the toilets to express milk or feed their babies on my courses, and menstruating, premenstrual or menopausal women will never be excluded from practice because of their current physical or emotional needs.
I walk my talk. I care very passionately indeed about the rights of women to celebrate the experiences of being a woman, including menstruating, navigating the premenstruum, ovulating, being pregnant, menopausal or breastfeeding and expressing milk. I spent three years of my life pregnant, eight years of my life breastfeeding, and seven years as a breastfeeding counsellor, where I saw that disrespectful attitudes towards breastfeeding adversely impacted on women’s confidence and capacity to breastfeed feed their children. As an advocate of conscious menstruality, I also observe that the cyclical fluxes of menstrual and menopausal experiences are neither recognised nor honoured by many yoga teaching approaches ,and this disempowers women by encouraging a disconnection from their naturally arising flow and change at emotional and physical levels.
I observe that in many yoga teaching environments there is an implicit disrespect or exclusion of menstruating, menopausal, premenstrual, pregnant or lactating women simply because their physical and emotional needs are disregarded, or seen to be inconvenient and disruptive to the general flow of teaching. As an antidote to this, I actively welcome the opportunity to met these needs in my courses and workshops as a chance to encounter a deeper and broader range of yoga practice appropriate to all stages of life.
I seek to ensure that on my courses nobody is disrespected or excluded because of their experiences or women’s life stages. Everyone is invited to be comfortable and at ease, knowing that their particular life stage experiences are honoured and welcome.”