What Students Really Think about Demos

Part 3 of a three-part series I have my own take on demos. But what about others? I was especially curious about students’ preferences—namely, those who aren’t teachers. So, I surveyed 20 or 25 of my own students. They vary in age, gender, and experience. I included those who are new to yoga, but targeted…… Continue reading What Students Really Think about Demos

Teaching Style: Further Thoughts on Demos and Pace

Part 2 of a three-part series Some argue that the demo method turns off younger students because it’s slower paced. Occasionally I hear “directives” from Iyengar yoga associations that teaching should be more dynamic—more jumping around and tricky poses—to attract young people. On one hand, this idea makes sense. Twentysomethings are generally healthy and eager…… Continue reading Teaching Style: Further Thoughts on Demos and Pace

The Demo Method

Part 1 of a three-part series Ever taken an Iyengar yoga class? If yes, you’re probably watched a yoga “demo,” short for demonstration. Teacher performs pose, step-by-step, with verbal instructions. Students watch and then try the pose themselves. What’s your opinion of the demo method of teaching? Last year, I very belatedly read Lois Steinberg’s…… Continue reading The Demo Method

The Social Side of Yoga Classes

This fall, one of my students, “Sophie,” noticed me silently marking my attendance sheet. “Would you take roll aloud?” she asked. “I want to learn people’s names.” After a momentary pause, I agreed. Later, I decided that standard roll call isn’t ideal for learning names: Unless students are sitting in a circle, it’s hard to…… Continue reading The Social Side of Yoga Classes

Back to Back Yoga Classes

Wendy attends three of my Zoom yoga classes weekly. Currently the classes are spaced apart, with a rest day in between. Next year, I’m rearranging my class schedule—and she’ll end up taking two classes on consecutive days: Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. “I might have to sleep in my yoga clothes:),” she wrote in email.…… Continue reading Back to Back Yoga Classes

Give me one reason

During a Vancouver workshop with John Schumacher last year, I was surprised to hear his instructions on exiting Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand). “Lie down,” he said, “keep your shoulders on the blankets, head on the floor.” What? My typical shoulderstand exit was to slide my shoulders off my blanket stack. Whether I kept my ribcage…… Continue reading Give me one reason

Look closely, see deeply

In San Francisco last summer, Lois Steinberg analyzed Virabhadrasana II for a long time. Most students attending the five-day workshop were teachers or experienced students. But Warrior II was nevertheless a worthy challenge. Using an adept student as a demo model, she emphasized how the bent knee must rotate outward to elongate the groins and adductors.…… Continue reading Look closely, see deeply

Yoga is not a photo-op

A few weeks ago, a friend forwarded me a photo of yoga students seated in Sukhasana, eyes closed. “Got this in an email. I see you!” he wrote. I immediately recognized the setting: September 2016. Firooza Razvi workshop. Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco (IYISF). I attended that workshop and, sure enough, there I was.…… Continue reading Yoga is not a photo-op

A critical teacher

Why are your feet apart? You’re only halfway. Bend your knees more! Lift your chest! Lift! I received these corrections (and more) from Chris Saudek during her recent workshop in Victoria. I wasn’t surprised. I’d met this master Iyengar yoga teacher at three prior workshops, and I expected sharp feedback. She doesn’t miss a thing,…… Continue reading A critical teacher

The Inner Game of Yoga

I don’t play golf, but I recently read W Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf (1981). A few years ago, I read his classic The Inner Game of Tennis (1974), a favorite among top coaches including Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll. I don’t play tennis either, but I’m interested in Gallwey’s theories on learning and peak…… Continue reading The Inner Game of Yoga