Power Yoga: Many things come to mind when we hear the words “Power Yoga,” but the roots of Power Yoga are usually related to Ashtanga Yoga. This is not always the case, but more often, than not, Power Yoga is an offshoot of Ashtanga Yoga.
Thinking about Power Yoga may conjure up vivid images of Yoga teachers like Beryl Bender Birch, Bryan Kest, or Baron Baptiste. This is a vigorous form of Ashtanga Yoga with a Western “twist.” Classes are usually filled with younger adult Yoga students and active athletes.
These are not classes for Yoga students with ailments, or for beginners who just “jumped off the couch.” Power Yoga is a fantastic system of Yoga exercises, but if you are going to teach any form of Power Yoga classes, you have to be completely honest with prospective students. The physical challenge of a Power Yoga class is not for everyone who wants to learn a form of Hatha Yoga.
For example: A middle-aged, inactive, beginner Yoga student, should be guided to a gentle Yoga style, if he or she wants to pursue the study of Hatha Yoga. This student will learn the basics, safety guidelines, and contraindications that apply to his or her body. After a few months of regular practice, this Yoga student will see the path of infinite possibilities open, and then make an educated choice from what he or she has learned.
The injury of a student, due to the desire for a Yoga teacher’s desire to “fill up classes,” is morally and ethically wrong. Complete honesty with students is not often taught when we are trained to become a Yoga teacher. Yoga teachers are often trained to be gentle guides along the path toward total health.
Being completely blunt about a prospective Yoga student’s limitations – might be bad for business. However, whenever a student is injured, the Yoga instructor will often feel remorse, even if the situation was completely unforeseen. The above-mentioned scenario, of an unfit student going into a vigorous Yoga class, can easily be seen. If you do not have a questionnaire for new Yoga students, you should design one now, even if you have never had a single problem.
This is not meant to “steer you away” from teaching Power Yoga classes or to prevent you from learning to become a Power Yoga instructor. Power Yoga classes are very rewarding to participate in and to teach.
When considering the needs of new Yoga students, always be diplomatic, and guide potential Yoga students toward their best choice. Unfortunately, this sometimes means we must guide them to the Yoga teacher down the street.
© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html