In a setting where each individual has their own Yoga Hammock, how do we come together? A community is a group of any size that shares an activity, locality, and cultural heritage. To have a sense of community is to feel that you belong somewhere. As a teacher, we strive to build the latter within our space. So how do we, as teachers cultivate a community spirit in our Aerial Yoga classes?
With these simple tips and techniques, you will surely gain the trust of your students, build their self-confidence, most importantly form lasting friendships in your classes.
"When people start yoga, they don't really know what they're getting into, but it has such a powerful effect on their minds, bodies, and hearts that they want to link up with other people who are having similar experiences,” says Rama Berch, founder of the Master Yoga Foundation and the founding president of Yoga Alliance. Forming a bond in an aerial yoga class comes naturally to students over time. When you feel good, you want to share that. Encourage chatting between students before class- you can get the ball rolling with introductions and small talk. That is also a good time to take a quick check of everyone’s well-being and level of strength; this allows you to assess your students while they socialize.
Provide some items for students to help themselves during class. Rosin or chalk for their grip, hand sanitizer, ginger candy for sudden dizziness or even snacks like fruit or protein bars. It show preparation for the class, that you have then covered for anything that may happen during our session. It's especially helpful for true beginners.
Once a month I do a partner class. This is especially effective when we are transitioning into more complex moves. One becomes a spotter, the other a flyer. This way, students take on different roles in their practice. According to the Spin City Aerial Sling Curriculum, teachers need to build students’ confidence to eventually become a “knowledgeable observer, ”, which is a student who can safely guide his or her peer through a move and can raise immediate red flags to the teacher as needed. Partner work just ticks so many boxes; from garnering trust within peers to building confidence in each of your students, and addressing some very important safety points.
What I love about Aerial Yoga is what sets it apart from other yogic disciplines. Aerial yoga is a mirror. You will simultaneously confront your fears and your inner-child all in an hour. It is impossible not to form a bond. While there is some controversy with the authenticity of this art, if it rejuvenates something inside you, works your body, and keeps your mind present, isn’t that enough?Written by Jennifer Yusi of Misfit Yoga
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