I remember when a teacher in San Francisco added this line of dialogue to the half moon posture: “Look Snooty at Yourself in the Mirror.”  At first it was kinda cute and got accross the idea of lifting up one’s chin — by lifting up one’s nose.

Then the strangest thing happened.  I started hearing it all over town. And I thought to myself, San Francisco already has enough snooty people. We don’t need anymore.  We need students to lift up their chin. The line of dialogue that accomplishes this is: “Chin up.”  

(For all my San Franciscans, I love you and I’m just jealous that you get to live in SF and I no longer do.)

I’m no purist. (Well maybe I am;) I think teachers should teach their class and, after a few hundred classes, the dialogue can just be one of many tools a teacher can use to lead the class.  It is particularly a valuable tool when teaching beginners. 

Especially as a new teacher, I’ve noticed the tendency to add unnecessary stuff to the dialogue. 

Instead of adding to the dialogue, I encourage new teachers to look closely at the dialogue and stick with it. It’s not important to say every word in every set. Instead, try to start connecting the words with the people and their bodies around you.  Sooner or later you’ll start to have thoughts and you’ll be able to think on your feet even as your saying the dialogue.  Form these thoughts into what you want to say and your first corrections will form. Then return to the dialogue again.

Over time your class will change and evolve. That’s natural and there comes a time when the dialogue is just one of many tools you can use to teach the class.

A new teacher is a lot like a new student.  And, as a teacher, you will know the most important tool to use is the breath. Be sure as a teacher to breathe through your nose as much as you can. Having good posture and smiling will also help you!

If you feel the need to add something to make the class your own, add your ATTITUDE and ENERGY.  When it comes to the words, often times as a new teacher you will run out of time just trying to say them all. You will have to rush just to say most of them. Instead, say some of the words in one set and some in the second set or on the left sides.

What advice do you give to new teachers and what helped you when you were new?