“Slow down you move to fast” – Simon and Garfunkel of course and good advice for a new yoga teacher. “The longer we teach the slower we get”. I was told this during my teacher training and tried really hard when I began teaching to slow it down. I never used a pause though, too busy thinking about what was coming next to pause. My second blog back then shows I might have thought I was going slow but no one else in the class did.
The problem is we want to fill the space, the quiet, the vacuum, with something and we fill it by moving on to the next pose. 10 seconds of quiet pause when your are teaching can seem like a lifetime. 10 seconds is barely a couple of breaths for the Yogis still trying to perfect their current pose position.
I remember taking a class many years ago taught by a relatively new teacher. We were on to the next pose before I had time to get into position in the current one. We did a lot of poses in that class but it was hard to enjoy any of them. Clearly that approach made a lasting impression on me. I remember it to this day, even down to which poses I almost got to 🙂
As a teacher you have to remember to give people time to complete the last instruction before you move the next. “Notice your breath” well you better give them 5 seconds, at least, to notice their breath.
My 90 minute classes these days have two deliberate pauses in them. I like to think of them as mini Savasanas on the way to the real thing. I always include them. I didn’t start out doing this. It was a feature of my class that has evolved over time. These pauses have effectively become a pose in their own right.
Remember its not about how many poses you can barrel through in 90 minutes, its about how your yogis feel at the end of class that matters.
In my Saturday morning class this week, after the final Namaste, everyone sat on their mat not moving. It was as if no one wanted to be the first to move or have class end. This is my favorite pause, it just feels like it may have been a good class when everyone just sits there and is not immediately reaching for their cell phone. Of course it might just have been heat exhaustion 😉