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How to Teach a Beginner Yoga Class

author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
How to Teach a Beginner Yoga Class
Teaching yoga to beginners can be rewarding. Photo Credit Getty Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Teaching a beginning yoga class requires a good deal of patience, but it can also be an extremely rewarding experience. Introducing the poses, postures and philosophy to new students offers you a chance to start their yoga journey on a positive note, which will hopefully stick so that they will become regular participants. At the same time, a large responsibility comes with teaching a beginner yoga class; students will be relying on you for guidance when learning what yoga is and how to do it.

Step 1

Explain what yoga is to your beginner class. Many people think that yoga only consists of the physical poses, but there are actually eight limbs, or areas of focus, to yoga. Yoga Movement reports that the eight limbs are, non-violence or Yama, inner discipline and we treat ourselves or Niyama , the physical poses or Asanas, control of the breath or Pranayama, withdrawal of the senses or Pratyahara, concentration or Dharnana, meditation or Dhyana and absolute bliss or Samadhi. Though the focus is on the Asanas during class, all of these eight aspects do come into play. For example, a student will most likely have an easier time mastering new poses if she learns to focus and concentrate on the journey of learning the pose while letting go of the idea of having to achieve any ideal outcome.

Step 2

Dispel the misconception that you need to be flexible to practice yoga. There are many people that do not even attempt yoga because they are under the impression that their tight or short muscles make them a yoga outsider. Reiterate that yoga is for absolutely everyone, no matter your ability level, age or degree of strength or flexibility. Yoga will help them to improve their flexibility, which is important in preventing injuries; tight muscles pull and tear more easily. Elongating and creating more elasticity in their muscles will make them feel better as well as improve their performance in sports or other physical activities.

Step 3

Teach the basic postures. Allowing the students to master the basic postures will create confidence in them when going on to more challenging poses and sequences. Yoga Journal suggests employing the use of repetition with these poses so that the new students become completely comfortable with the movements. Suggested poses are child's pose, downward dog, plank, sun salutations, warrior I, warrior II, triangle, side-angle pose, bridge and corpse pose, or savasana.

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