As a new yoga teacher, one of the biggest concerns you will face is whether you will injure a student in your class. There is nothing more exciting then going out into the world and teaching your community this wonderful art we call yoga. However, it is important that you be aware of how you lead your class. More importantly, it is vital that your level of intuition for guiding students is on point as causing an injury is a serious issue.
In a recent post by the Telegraph, the author reports how “Green teachers” can cause injury to new students by putting them in positions (or poses) that they are not ready for or that tweak the neck. In the post by Stephen Adams, he reports that:
“Over-eager “green” teachers are leading beginners to perform certain relatively advanced poses that can trigger lethal strokes if executed incorrectly.”
The report focuses mainly on poses that have to do with turning your neck in such a way that can leave blod clots and cause a stroke:
“If you twist your neck around a lot there are these kind of fragile arteries that go through the vertabrae, called the vertrebral arteries, and their linings can get torn and produce clots. And if those clots go into your brain you can have a stroke.”
And while it is true that teachers can be a bit overzealous when guiding their students into poses, it is a bit absurd to put all the blame onto the teacher. It is also students’ responsibility to know their own limits and stop at any poses they do not feel comfortable with. Because our society has handed its power over to doctors and politicians, we also hand our power to almost any “expert” and follow blindly.
Disclaimer Before Class Starts
Lay a strong foundation at the beginning of the class. Make it clear to all students attending the class that they should stop if they do not feel comfortable with any pose.
Now here is where it gets tricky because as a student, our ego can get in the way and keep us from pushing forward. So this lesson in and of itself is crucial because we have to learn to be able to differentiate the difference between our “weak mind” and “our true inability to do the pose.” Your role as the teacher is to be able to see the difference if the student is being weak minded or if they really have health issues that keeps them from doing the pose.
As a new yoga teacher, you need to build up your intuition so that you can truly see the difference in students. Your job is to now be able to gauge where people are at in their lives and health so you know how far to push or not push.
When you first start out as a yoga teacher, you should start slow. Make sure you take up an apprenticeship and don’t just jump into a large class setting right away. Feel your way around a bit so that you can get a true sense of how to guide your students so that you do not cause any injuries.
Get Yoga Insurance
And this goes without saying that you will probably want to get some insurance so that you can cover your “asana.” There are some companies out there that actually insure yoga teachers so that if you do get into a quibble with a student about whether your class injured them or not, the insurance providers will help support you in case of a lawsuit.
In the very near future we will be covering yoga insurance for yoga teachers that will help alleviate some of the concerns of causing injury to yoga students. But remember that as you start your path of becoming a yoga instructor and taking a yoga teacher training, to be mindful of your students health and well-being. Don’t feel the need to have to move them forward in their own life by doing poses they can not handle.