New to teaching yoga to teens? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Help Build Self-Esteem — praise your students for even the slightest improvement or on anything they do well. Many teens struggle with low self-esteem, so the more you can help build their self-confidence, the better. Challenge the students to set goals for difficult poses—many students don’t think they can do difficult poses and therefore don’t put any effort into practicing. Keep reminding them that they can do anything they set their minds to—stay on their backs about continuing to work towards challenging poses.
Be a Role Model — teens are very perceptive, so as a teen yoga teacher it is important to practice what you preach. And remember that enthusiasm is infectious. Don’t be afraid to show your passion for yoga—the more you believe in it and what it can do to transform one’s life, the more the teens will, too.
Keep it Real — your role as a teacher is to be a compassionate guide for the students, not to be their best friends. Be confident and comfortable in your own shoes, and students will respect your authenticity. Students will not respect you if you try to act like a teen in an attempt to win their approval.
Learn to Adapt — a lesson or sequence you have planned may not work on a given day, depending on the mood or energy level of a class. Having a lot of “tricks” in your bag to pull out at any moment is quite useful. Focus on a student centered practice that is tailored to meet their needs in each class.
Balance Structure with Spontaneity — though it is important to have a sense of routine and stable structure to each class, it is also important that the students never get too comfortable with the predictability of the classes and start slacking or losing interest. Try to do something new and unexpected in each class, such as a walking meditation, game, journaling activity, or partner poses. Keep them on their toes and remember to have fun!!