As yoga teachers, it is our job to encourage our students and to create a space where it’s okay to use blocks and other props.
With all the descriptions that yoga studios provide there is still always a moment of uncertainty when you walk into a class. You may show up to a beginner vinyasa flow but five minutes in and your legs are shaking and sweat is already dripping off your nose. This is part of a problem with having such a wide variety of classes and a wide variety of teachers.
It also complicates our job as a teacher. Part of our job is to try make a class accessible to a variety of students yet this means that in one class you can have a first time yogi standing next a seasoned practitioner. This puts a lot of pressure on the beginner to catch up when maybe they’re not ready.
Nothing is more stressful as a teacher than watching a beginner put themselves in danger to get into a deeper variation of an asana. Sometimes I find myself wanting to yell “It’s ok to use the block!” Yelling, however, is not very yogic, and at the end of the day it’s up to the student to make decisions about their body.
When I first started teaching I threw everything into the class, kitchen sink included. I wanted to prove to my students that I had the knowledge to actually teach a class not just instruct a class. I quickly found out that by stuffing as many moves into a class as I could end up alienating people. Once I learned this, and once students were kind enough to give me honest feedback, I started to change my approach.
The beauty of yoga is that you can always go deeper. So instead of throwing a myriad of asanas into my class, I now offer less poses but deeper versions. Many of these deeper variations often need blocks. Before class starts, I always let students know that it is suggested to grab two blocks to have by their mat. This way students who may be hesitant to use blocks might just be encouraged to use the assistance.