Q & A With Our Teen Yoga Teacher Trainer
Here’s Ciarán Mac Fhearghusa discussing what inspired him to become a Teen yoga teacher, why he loves teaching yoga and much, much more.
How and why did you start teaching teen yoga?
After spending the summer of 2011 in India studying to become a yoga teacher I began
incorporating yoga into my classes as a secondary school teacher. Initially, it was some basic movements combined with some breath awareness to help get the class more focused before the academic work began.
The students were interested to learn about yoga, even if it was just to waste some of the class time :), and I was happy to test out my newly learned skills. It quickly became apparent that a few moments of some simple yoga prepared the students to be more engaged and productive in the class.
However, it wasn’t until the following summer working with Coláiste Lurgan in the Galway
Gaeltacht that I really got to experiment with teaching yoga to teens. The owner of the
college loved innovative ways of teaching Irish and he encouraged me to develop a course
that would facilitate the teaching of Irish through the means of yoga and partner yoga.
Over the following 3 summers, I spent the mornings teaching Irish through the medium of group and partner yoga and the afternoons teaching yoga through the medium of Irish. I got to work with thousands of students and the course received great feedback from the teens themselves.
What do you love most about teaching teen yoga?
What I love most about teaching yoga to teenagers is seeing that yoga glow they have in their faces at the end of a yoga class. There can be quite a significant transformation in their body language and temperament and sometimes they seem to float out of the class.
Most teenagers have a misunderstanding of what relaxation is and have very little experience of being in a truly relaxed state. Being able to facilitate this calmness, even if it is only on a surface level, is what is most rewarding to me.
Another aspect of teaching teens that I love is seeing them overcome limiting beliefs they have regarding what they can and cannot do. It’s heart-warming to see their faces light up when they accomplish a yoga pose that seemed beyond their reach. Partner yoga poses are great and it can be especially rewarding seeing them share their accomplishments with their friends.
What are the main benefits for the teens you teach?
A lot of teens are surprising stressed out from social and academic pressures. Initially, yoga can offer some symptomatic relief from those stressors. A regular yoga practice, however, can help teens deal more skillfully with those stressors and reduce the impact they have on their lives.
It can also be quite liberating for teenagers to experience deeper states of relaxation and to overcome challenging postures. Partner yoga poses are also great for building trust and friendships. Learning these skills earlier in life can empower teens to make better life choices in the future.
With your years of experience as a teacher, can I get a great tip for all new teachers?
An important skill in teaching teens is having clear expectations of how a class should go and being able to express those expectations to the teens themselves while keeping them on your side.
Having said that, there will be times it will be required to let go of those expectations and embody a composed presence to teach to the current needs of your students.
A yoga teacher amusingly summarized to me after her first teen yoga class that ‘teaching teens is like swimming in porridge’. Yes, there will be times when it feels like absolute coercion but if you stay calm, and keep bringing their attention back to their bodies and their breath and let the yoga do its magic, then both you and your students will leave feeling energized and appreciative of the yoga process.
The elbowroom prides itself in offering the most comprehensive yoga teacher training courses in Ireland. We are accepting applications for our upcoming Teen Yoga Teacher Training course starting September 2018. For more information about how to become a Teen yoga teacher trainer contact training@the-elbowroom or call or why not pop into our OPEN DAY that is on Saturday 26th May 2018.