Does your body hurt during or after teaching class?

I’ve heard of new teachers locking their knees for 90 minutes while standing on the podium.  I remember after teaching some of my first classes how the muscles of my neck and jaw were exhausted from talking for an hour-and-a-half straight. Recently, I’ve noticed teachers extend one foot in front of the other and kind of rock from hip to hip.

Just like a student, a teacher must maintain proper posture and cultivate good form in order to maintain health and well being.  

Teaching is exhausting and to replenish your teaching energy, here are some helpful practices.

  1. Stand on a yoga mat. Just as the students do, standing on a yoga mat can provide some cushion from the hard floor. Bend your knees a bit from time to time can also help.
  2. Walk. As long as you do so in a way that is not distracting for the students, it can be very helpful to keep you from locking up and creating tension.
  3. Sit down. Some studios prohibit sitting. Certainly sitting can cause the energy level to drop.  So, perhaps just at sevasana or maybe longer if necessary as long as you can keep your energy and connection with the students and their struggle. Bonus: sitting in a hip opening stretches like cow face or lotus can be very helpful to open the hips.
  4. Keep you chest up and shoulders back and down. This instruction comes regularly throughout the class for the students and should be practiced by the teacher as well. A lifted chest can create space for you to… 
  5. Breathe! Teachers stress how important it is for students to breathe. For a teacher, this goes double!  Both to help you and to model to students. As a new teacher, if you are struggling, try breathing in deeply whenever you say “inhale.” Especially if you feel pain, try to breathe and relax into that space.
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As a teacher, it’s important to move your body in class and to maintain good posture and practices. Of course the class is about — and for — the students.  So be sure to move in a way that does not distract students or make it about you.

What do you do in class that helps you?