Reblogs,  Teaching Ashtanga

Advice For Yoga Teachers on Motivating Students

Great Blog post by David Garrigues

David: There is a direction of flow and this is very key. And the direction of flow is that the student has got to want the teacher’s knowledge and that desire has to be very strong. And so without that there is nothing you can do for the student as a teacher. But when there is a sincere and sustained desire to learn then the teacher has a lot to work with. It is necessary for the teacher to be encouraging of the direction that the student wants to learn, to be enthusiastic about the particular aspects of the practice that interest the student. I do this with the aim of finding the overlap between what I find interesting about what their doing and what they find interesting about what they’re doing. This is my starting point and I let the teaching go forward from there because when I’m trying to get them to work on something that’s hard or different for them to do I have to have them in total agreement.

Joy: Or else there will be no success or pleasure?

David: Really its there won’t be success. Often I’m trying to create a new pattern where an old, rutted pattern exists. And the chances of that rutted pattern continuing are great and so to create a new pattern takes a total investment from the student and I have to have that agreement. Hence my phrase “backing them into a corner.” The phrase means that for this time period they don’t feel any other type of instruction will work exceptexcept what I’m providing. They agree with me that this is the best choice for now.

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Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

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