Communicate Effectively


I took it as a positive criticism, but it nonetheless leaves me confused about the best way to give instructions.

— Anonymous

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Read John Friend's response:

Dear Anonymous,

I believe that one of the most common teaching errors is talking too much and giving too many points of instruction while students are practicing poses. Often, the more a teacher knows, the more information he or she will try to give to the students. The result is that some teachers talk incessantly throughout a pose, presenting many technical points of alignment or philosophical teachings. This method does not allow the student time to pause and reflect on the experience. Good teaching entails giving clear, concise instructions at a pace that allows the student to comprehend and perform the directions, plus quiet time to assimilate the experience.

Balancing poses, in particular, require students to tune into their own bodily sensations. If a student's attention is constantly drawn outward to listen to a teacher's instructions, it makes balancing more difficult.

Strive to give your students enough quiet space between instructions that your students can assimilate the previous instructions and adjust their positions based on what they are feeling within their bodies. A soothing voice can also help students stay centered, even while practicing a challenging balance pose.