The next chapter I’m summarizing from my book, “Stretched: Build Your Yoga Business, Grow Your Teaching Techniques,” is the chapter on assisting your students. The chapter is called “Essential Assisting Tips” and it breaks down the skill of assisting into several areas: general principles, things to consider for yourself as you assist, how to coordinate your efforts with the teacher (if you’re assisting someone else), things to consider from the student’s perspective, factors about the room/environment and spiritual factors.
Assisting is an additional, special skill to develop as a teacher. Just because you can teach a pose, doesn’t mean you can assist it effectively and because assisting involves touching another person, there’s a whole host of other factors that come into play. Assisting as part of teaching is always an interesting, thought provoking and important discussion to have as teachers because it brings up a number of topics around how we can be helpful, how as teachers we can help facilitate someone’s experience but at the same time be respectful, reinforce healthy boundaries and a whole host of other topics. This chapter will give you a number of tips and techniques but with assisting, as with learning how to teach, it’s something best done in a face to face learning situation.
I will say that as a new teacher, I assisted two classes a week at the Baptiste studios in Boston and Cambridge for about 2 years along with beginning to gain experience with one class a week as a teacher. I can’t imagine doing it any other way, as the experience I gained simply by being in the studio, around experienced teachers, while I was in the beginning stages of teaching was immeasurable. I would highly recommend that to any beginning teacher, they start with assisting at least one class per week for at least a year right after graduation.
I received the latest draft of my book today in electronic version; now I just need to order the hard copy, verify it looks good and if so, it will be done!
Next Up: Chapter 11, Using Essential Language in Yoga Teaching.