{video} Can You Teach Something You Don’t Practice?

I recently moderated a discussion on this topic and it was great because there were two very different opinions represented. Some people said “Yes, of course!” and some people said, “No, absolutely not!”. In true Francesca fashion, I said, “Well…Yes and No…It depends!”.  I hope the short video below adds some nuance, clarification and discernment to the topic.

6 Responses to “{video} Can You Teach Something You Don’t Practice?”

  1. Nancy Klotz

    My yoga teacher, Rolf Gates, said that if you want to learn something – teach it. That being said, I don’t teach complex poses that I don’t do, but my audience is “drop in” and they are not typically prepared for complex poses. However, I am not shapely, but firmly believe that yoga is for everyone. So I am putting together a program for plus size women because most yoga advertisement shows young, slim, fit, caucasian, women to advertise yoga. I believe yoga is for everyone, so I am hoping that even though our bodies may be different, that I can invite shapely bodies to try yoga and hopefully stick with the practice. I did get information from Amber Karnes, who you highlighted in your podcast. Thank you.

  2. Thea Pueschel

    Great video! I think one of the issues that come up for students is that many teachers teach from their bodies instead of to the bodies in the room. I’ve been in classes, where the instructor has left all the students standing scratching their chin because they did a pose, and didn’t explain how to get into it.
    I think there are more problems with people being left behind than a teacher not being able to do a pose. Not everyone who can do can teach and that’s one of the problems with advanced asanas. From the must do to teach perspective. Plenty of OBGYNs never give birth, but when it comes down to it. You don’t care whether your doctor has given birth or not. You care about their competence and understanding.I think the same thing should be true for teachers.

    For me and my body, I have short arms and a large bust, this prevents me from doing Eagle Arms, but I can teach it. I also can’t do the bind in side-angle due to the length of my arms but I can teach it. I understand it. I think that’s what matters.

  3. Wendy Fast

    I agree completely with the idea that you can teach poses that you personally cannot do. For example, I cannot physically perform a full spilt. I have attempted to do it. However, I know how to teach it. I know enough about the bio mechanics of the body, the cues to use, and the movements that over flexible students should avoid. I can say the same thing about handstand. I can’t do it, but know enough about it that I could cue a student to safely attempt a handstand. I don’t usually choose to teach handstand, but on occasion there’s a student who will do it if I offer yogi’s choice for forward inversion.
    I can teach these poses because of the hundreds of hours I have spend in yoga classes and countless hours of formal and informal (ie youtube videos etc) training I have had.
    On the other hand, there are poses that I can’t do and have never studied how to teach. For instance, I have not idea how to do or cue Compass pose. Therefore, I have never offered it in one of my classes.


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