After teaching a while you may wonder where do I go from here? What are my resources? How can I continue to grow as a Bikram Yoga teacher? When you start to really understand what you are teaching you will be more confident on the podium, students will trust you and come to you with questions and concerns. When they do, you want to have places you can go to get the answers.
The first place to look, always, is in the Dialogue, or as I like to call it: the $10,000 book. You paid a lot of money for that resource and it’s worth every penny once you learn how to use it. You may have read it and memorized some of it, but once you have been teaching a while you can start to look at the dialogue with new eyes.
The words are simple and unambiguous, when you understand more anatomy and how the postures work and work together, you can start to see the value in the words. When you are ready you make corrections, the information for the corrections can be found in the dialogue. When trying to understand how to help a student with injuries and limitations the sequencing of the posture in the dialogue is the roadmap. I believe it is the greatest resource you have as a Bikram teacher, if you learn to implement it and spend some time studying it.
Anything else you learn about Bikram's yoga is wonderful but always refer back to his actual dialogue to verify the information. This is the main tool for teaching class. All tools you add to your toolbox should assist you in understanding and implementing the Dialogue.
Some resources I recommend:
Bikram's Beginner Yoga Class (The Blue Book/Red Book). Explanations of the postures and their medical benefits are beautifully outlined in these materials, with the focus on our target audience, beginner students. These books were designed for a home practice, so when there are discrepancies use the Dialogue.
Bikram Yoga (The Orange Book/Gold Book). This is a great resource for understanding Bikram’s philosophy of yoga. I believe the postures are better explained in the Blue/Red book.
Diane Ducharme, who graduated from teacher training in 1995, runs an online discussion board for Bikram teachers. It is a great place to learn about the postures, teaching and helping your students. http://www.26and2.com/discussion/
Anatomy Books and Apps. There are a lot of great anatomy resources, find one you like. I use an app on my phone called Essential Anatomy 5 that I love. A great anatomy resource in correlation with the dialogue will greatly increase your understanding of what you are teaching.
Bikram’s Public Class. Go to L.A. and take a beginner class with Bikram, not a teacher training class but his regular class. It will be money well spent.
Visit Teacher Training. Be back in the bubble for a little while and remember what you learned there. Listening to the information presented again can help reinforce what you learned. This time you can sleep and decide what classes to take. You may be able to get more out of it because there is no pressure and you return having taught classes, so the information is applicable in new ways. Helping at posture clinic allows you to access experienced teachers, create community and relationships as well as get you back to looking at the Dialogue.
Read the book How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach
Find A Mentor. Many teachers open their studios to visiting teachers for the express purpose of helping teachers grow. The mentor relationship is unique, find someone who is a good match for you. Seek out different mentors, you are not limited to one.
Go to seminars, posture clinics and workshops but always remember to go back to the $10,000 book.
No matter how much you learn, or how much you grow, when you are teaching class keep it simple. This class IS simple. Students want to be lead through a series of commands to get in and out of the postures. They want the teacher to watch their technique and make corrections when needed. Your knowledge base, everything you learn, will make you a more confident, empowering teacher but you do not need to share all of your knowledge with the students. Just tell them what to do, how to do, and the effect of doing it. Keep it simple and let them grow just as you continue to grow!