Almost 2 out of every 10 guys I meet nowadays say they had tried a few classes and liked it. Today there are no shortage of Yoga classes to choose from – fitness centers, gyms, boutique studios and in Singapore we have something called Community Centers (which offer government subsidised services for mass market consumption). But good classes are rare. Any savvy and genuine seeker of Yoga knows that there aren’t that many authentic Yoga classes in Singapore that offer close to the benefits of what Yoga is supposed to bring.
Because I feel blessed to have the karma of learning the most original, undiluted teachings of Yoga, I’d made it my personal mission to share this ancient tool of self development with as many people as possible for their positive transformation.
This article is written mainly for certified Yoga Teachers; but it would help expand any practioner’s perspective when choosing a class for yourself. Whether you had done your certification with us under LLLA’s Teacher Trainings or with other institutions, I’m sure this will interest you.
What makes a Yoga Class awesome and sets it apart from a mediocre one?
- Work with the Chakras – If you don’t know what are Chakras and you call yourself a Yoga Teacher, you are shortchanging your students. Chakras are energy vortexes from which our several dimensions of reality arise ie phyiscal, emotional, mental and so on. Everything is created from the vibration of Chakras; and the whole point of Yoga is to purify and balance these Chakras to achieve union. Your class will be amped up if you understand what are Chakras, how they affect daily life of a person, and how to structure your class in accordance to the locations of a person’s main Chakras.
- Your own Practice – This is one of the underlying factors that will determine how effective you are as a teacher/facilitator; actually this extends to almost anything you do. As a trainer, your students can only progress as much as you do. So before each class, you first have to make sure you have done ample practice to super charge your cells with Prana and vibration. So that you can ground the space and provide the room for your students to reach that deeper part of themselves that they could not reach on their own.
- Your Listening and Perceiving – I don’t mean listening with your ears. I mean listening with your whole being – your 5 senses and more. Once class begins, feel every of your student, feel their breaths, and through their breaths feel their feelings and thoughts, resistances and fears. Feel where there is room to work a little harder, and feel where acceptance is required. Listen to the sounds they make, and beyond the sounds. Witness how they are pushing beyond their own boundaries. Hold that space for them in love, and non judgement, as they have entrusted you to.
- Meditation – This could be done via sitting, lying down in a simple guided relaxation, or a deep Yoga Nidra practice. A Yoga Class is incomplete without Meditation, don’t skip it for any reason. You could cut the another part of the class but not the Meditation because this is the ultimate goal of Yoga. A good facilitator will know how to remind the class that Meditation is the primary reason why they huffed and puffed through the challenging Asanas. A Yoga session becomes awesome when there is shifts in the consciousness, and these shifts can only occur via Meditation.
- ‘The’ Class vs ‘A’ Class – Before every session I think, plan, meditate and run through everything I intend to teach in the class, with one main objective – to create upward shifts. It is not simply ‘a’ class that I mechanically go through; it is an event that I treat seriously because I know there will never be the same class again. When you treat something as a precious experience that will only occur once in your lifetime, your whole perspective changes.
- Variety – The fact is that human beings are easily bored creatures, hence the saying familiarity breeds contempt. Too many commercialized Yoga classes teach the same old sequence again and again, some for years. Nothing wrong with that, especially if its a sequence that works. But if you want your students to still feel the wow in your sessions after years, then variety is key. I get bored with my own training after an average of 3 months, and I make sure I cross train my muscles with running and swimming. Finding new ways to keep yourself engaged as a trainer determines how much your students benefit from your classes.
- Individual Attention – I have a prejudice against large classes. I feel anything larger than 15 people in a class is an ineffective use of time for the students. I once heard a Yoga teacher (supposedly celebrity level) from Bali say that “every class is just bodies and bones, and with 50-80 students in a class, most of the time I have no freaking idea what is going on inside of them.” Well, I don’t have x-ray eyes either, but I find it hard to trust a teacher who sees me as just one of the many “bodies and bones”. If I were attending a class, I want to know that my trainer got my back while I’m exploring my potential. This is not baby sitting, but rather an extra pair of eyes to help me watch where I can push and where I should let go. It is literally impossible for a trainer to give that kind of attention to a class of 20 and more. So, keep your classes small and you will impact your students better.