Karma Classes Taught by Teacher Trainees

Last month I talked a little about slowing down this time of year and still getting that “back to school” feeling. As part of The Mat Yoga Studio’s community in the North Dallas area, there’s something else that happens this time of year that’s kind of like that feeling: the 200-hour yoga teacher training returning back for the third module and offering their Karma classes to the community.

As part of The Mat’s community, I look forward to this time of year to support the current class by attending the karma classes I can. But if you start to see this on the schedule next month, you may be wondering what is a karma class?

A karma class is a free class taught by the students of that year’s 200-hour teacher training program and are open to The Mat’s community. It’s a great time to invite friends or family, but a student may also find him- or herself teaching other community members. Practicing teaching like this can offer an invaluable experience to help start to feel comfortable in front of the room.

When I went through teacher training, I practiced “teaching” my class multiple times in my living room by speaking aloud and timing myself. But once I started actually teaching others, that timing changed. For one thing, when it was just me, I’m sure I spoke more quickly than I would with several students…no matter how many times I told myself to slow down. This left me feeling like I needed to pack more in, only to find myself editing more out when it came to teaching others.

I also found that there were other cues I needed to offer to clarify my intention of the sequence, but that didn’t mean I needed to say everything in my mind for that particular pose. We’d be in that pose for quite awhile if so! Practicing alone was easy because I knew what came next, but how could I make that transition smoother to those that didn’t know? At least, on the first side. And then on the second, well, how can I make notes for myself easy to follow without flipping back through my pages?

Other things that can only be learned by doing? Projection – is the studio space larger than say, a living room? What happens if the music isn’t connecting? Or if including a virtual offering, have I set up enough time to configure the video feed? The karma class allows a student teacher to set-up for a real class and come up against some of those what ifs because, well, they are “real” classes. Real classes with lots of supportive faces.

None of this is meant to stress student teachers out! It highlights why I appreciated the fact that these classes were a part of the training. Many of those who attend karma classes are doing so to support the student teachers, to help them feel comfortable teaching and succeed if teaching is the path they wish to follow. For me, even with all of those “what ifs,” I so appreciated looking out to the faces in front of me and seeing friends, community and encouraging smiles.

To those who are practicing teaching this fall: Good luck and you got this! And I can’t wait to take your class.

This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat Yoga Studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own experience.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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