Yoga Teaching Strategies: Mirroring Right and Left (Video)
Teaching Tips and Strategies for Yoga Teachers.
Watch a quick video clip of a yoga coaching discussion and scroll down for a few tips and techniques to develop your skills in mirroring your left and right in your visual cuing and demonstrations in yoga classes.
Group Coaching Clip – Yoga Teaching Strategies: Mirroring Right and Left
I had a great question during a group coaching discussion recently about mirroring when we demonstrate and use visual cues in our yoga classes.
What mirroring means is that, as a teacher, I am mirroring the students’ right and left sides. So, when I say to you, take your right arm up, I’m using my left arm. It’s a useful strategy because my left matches where your right is, so it can be easier for students to follow your visual cues and demos.
In my own teaching, I use a variety of mirroring and non-mirroring visual cues.
When I’m facing the students or a camera, I use my left to mirror your right.
When I’m facing to the side, I often use my own right when cuing to your right.
However, I happen to have a good grasp of my right/left directionality which makes these switches relatively easy – but that’s not the case for everyone. For a variety of reasons, some folks struggle with right and left, so they need to find strategies that will work for their unique body/mind.
If you are a teacher who struggles with your right and left, or you see that your students have trouble identifying or following right/left cues, I have a few ideas for you.
First, it’s important to remember that it’s a choice, and one you need to make relative to your own body and directional awareness, and what works best for your students and the environment you are teaching in. Choose strategies that will work for you so that you don’t have to worry, and you can keep your focus on your students.
A few teaching strategies for mirroring you might consider are:
Be consistent. When you are facing your students or the camera, don’t mix up mirroring and non-mirroring, choose one teaching strategy and be consistent. That will make things easier for both you and your students.
Have visual cues for yourself. You could put stickers or write left and right on your mat, or place an object to one side of your mat (a candle, a book) so that you can remember where right and left are.
Reduce the amount you speak about right and left. When possible, use geography cues (turn to the mirror side, use the arm closest to the front door).
When you are teaching virtual classes, you can cue turn towards your screen, away from your screen.
Watch your students. Use their visual cues to remind yourself of their right and left.
Remember the often once you’ve entered a pose there is now a front and back or top and bottom which are easier references for many than right and left. For example, in Triangle, once you’ve moved into the pose, there is now a front leg and back leg, and top arm and bottom arm.
Finally, give yourself a break. If you lose track of your right and left, correct it with lightness and even a bit of humor, and move on.