Teaching Tips: How to get out of Automatic Pilot
This weeks teaching tip comes from Kinndli McCollum, Senior Baptiste Teacher and co-owner of Power Yoga Canada. In your teaching, do you ever:
Feel like you're bored with the sequence? Feel like you say the same thing in every single class? Feel like you're in a "rut"? Feel like people aren't listening to what you are saying? Feel like you need to get creative with the sequence? Feel like you need music to get people excited? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be dealing with a serious case of automatic pilot in your teaching. This means that you are just going into the studio and teaching what you always teach. Right foot forward. Warrior One. Press down through your left heel. Spread your fingers. Chatarunga. Exhale. Sound familiar?
The first step in getting out of auto pilot is awareness. You have to acknowledge and admit that you are stuck without getting down on yourself about it. It’s natural at times to think that you need to get creative with the flow or put music on to keep students interested. When you feel these symptoms coming on, the work isn't in trying to change everything and everyone around you. It's in looking inside with a deeper inquiry and doing more work on yourself. If you're on automatic pilot and you just keep teaching AT
your students, there is no room to hear what you are saying and see if it's landing. You are operating from a place that leaves no room for the Art and Mastery of Baptiste yoga: Observe. Listen. Give Tools.
We can all fall into it at times in our teaching. The question is, how do you remedy it?
It requires presence and space. GET PRESENT
Pause and look around the room. See what you see. Speak to the human bodies that are in front of you, not to the class that is going on in your head
. Say a cue or call a pose. Pause again. Hold space. LISTEN TO THEIR BODIES
In the pause, see if the cue landed in your students bodies. Really watch: did it land?
You want to see your words create a shift in their bodies. GIVE TOOLS
If your cue did not land, try saying it in a different way. When you get bored with your teaching, get creative in how you say things, not in the poses of the flow. By observing, listening and giving tools, your teaching becomes a conversation with your students bodies. These three tools are a simple and effective way of shifting gears in your teaching. Instead of talking at your students, you have a conversation with them. You observe their bodies speak back to you and continue to give tools as you move through the flow. To get out of auto pilot you simply have to make an inner shift from teaching for yourself to teaching for others
. It is when you come out of yourself and shift your intention in your teaching to be FOR your students, that magic happens. This is when, even in a room full of people, your students feel truly seen.