The Advantages Of Taking A Restorative Yoga Teacher Course

Restorative yoga is intended to allow the practitioner to let go of the demands and stresses of everyday life. This includes letting go of all pressure to do things right and to constantly improve and achieve. These last two criteria are what make teaching this type of yoga so difficult. A teacher’s skill in restorative yoga creating the right atmosphere of relaxation and a teacher’s skill in providing guidelines in how to perform the poses without applying subtle pressure to do it right or better can make or break a restorative yoga class. These special skills can be learned in a restorative yoga teacher course.

The restorative yoga teacher has to discard the role of authoritative teacher. Instead, the teacher needs to don the role of a helpful guide or a gentle caregiver. Applying the mental role of caregiver works particularly well when using props to help the student “receive” and relax into the pose. Using the role of a caregiver can be helpful when looking for signs a student needs assistance. Instead of looking for signs that the pose is being performed incorrectly, look for signs of discomfort or effort and try to relieve these symptoms.

Inexperienced teachers may find it difficult to leave lengthy silences. During a class it is common for students to lie quietly for five minutes at a time. A teacher may feel odd about not teaching, not instructing and not doing anything for these lengthy silences, but they are an essential part of the class. The teacher needs to remember to “let go.”

A great deal of thought should be put into the sequence of poses chosen for each class. One sign of a good teacher is being able to manage gentle transitions from pose to pose without having to fuss too much with the props. Abrupt transitions marked by thumping sandbags and students struggling with blocks and bolsters are very disruptive to the desired goal of relaxation.

Because teaching restorative yoga is so different from teaching regular yoga, teachers should strongly consider taking a specific restorative yoga teacher course. Most such courses require that the teacher be certified in teaching regular yoga as a prerequisite. In addition to covering the difficult, special skills necessary for teaching this kind of yoga, a good class will also provide information on how to guide students through the poses safely.

Having the knowledge to adjust or substitute the poses to safely accommodate students with special conditions or needs is particularly important in restorative yoga. Of course it is important in teaching all types of yoga, but students with physical limitations, injuries and other special conditions are likely to try restorative yoga under the assumption that it is not particularly physically challenging.

An essential part of learning how to teach restorative yoga is learning about the physiology of relaxation. Learning the anatomy of the nervous system and how it affects the body during arousal and relaxation is essential for being able to read students during class. During a class it is important to be able to glance at the students and be able to tell if they are truly relaxed or if instead they are uncomfortable, bored or just having trouble “letting go.”

Most restorative yoga teaching programs offer certification in the practice and are part of an overall yoga teaching certification program. Being certified as a yoga teacher, including a teacher of restorative yoga, will attract students to class. Skillful teaching will keep students in class.

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