Important notice: Some of our classes are incorrectly showing ‘Class Full’ for some users due to a technical issue. Our engineers are working on it and we hope to have this resolved shortly.
Until then if you want to double check class availability, you can still log in and book via the triyoga Client Portal here.
If you need help please contact your specific triyoga centre here, and our teams will be happy to help you.

Important notice: Our booking system supplier is currently experiencing technical issues, which is causing account and checkout actions to fail in some cases. Their engineers are urgently working on it. Until then, you should be able to log in and book via 1) the triyoga app or 2) the triyoga Client Portal here. Or if you need help please contact your specific triyoga centre here, and our teams will be happy to help you.

Important notice: Due to a global IT outage upstream, you may experience issues with booking, purchasing, or logging in. Their engineers are working on resolving this as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience

Important notice: Some users are experiencing login issues due to a technical issue upstream with our booking system provider. Their engineers are working on it. Until then you can still log in and book via 1) the triyoga app or 2) the triyoga Client Portal here.

Important notice: Our booking schedules are temporarily down due to a technical issue. Our engineers are working on it and we hope to have this resolved very shortly.
Until then, if you need help please email our customer care team at [email protected] or contact your specific triyoga centre here, and our teams will be happy to help you.

why teaching one-to-one might be good for you

triyoga-kate-ellis

Learn how social engagement can be used for therapeutic benefit with Kate Ellis’ teacher training: the Art of Teaching One-to-One (Embodied Relational Therapy). Here, Kate tells us why teaching one-to-one may be beneficial for the student and the teacher.

Ever wondered why you might feel more inclined to teaching one-to-one as a yoga teacher?

You might be thinking that It’s because you’re shy, introverted or larger groups of people overwhelm you. But is that really the case? For example, you might actually enjoy a good party but find the idea of teaching a yoga class daunting. Of course, there’s the obvious performance anxiety answer but what if you’ve actually taught for a long time and still find a room of people with faces unnerving?

Polyvagal Theory has been around for some time but Dr Steven Porges’ understanding and redrawing of the whole fight-or-flight theory of the sympathetic/parasympathetic branches of the nervous system is highly relevant to us as yoga teachers. So, it’s not just about our students’ health and well-being when we teach. It’s also about ours!

The Social Engagement System is what Dr Porges coined to describe a part of our nervous system (the cranial nerves including the tenth one, which is the vagus nerve), which guides eye contact, hearing, eating, speech, kissing, smiling and direct ‘heart to heart’ and even ‘gut to gut’ contact. The vagus nerve controls heart rate, and there is new evidence of microbiota in the gut communicating and interacting with the vagus nerve.

In basic terms, the way we look at or speak to someone can indicate how regulated or unregulated we are. It can indicate whether we’re activated in our:

–  sympathetic branch (hyper-aroused – talking very fast, eyes popping)
–  parasympathetic branch (regulated/smooth –  your teachers voice during savasana)

We generally move on a spectrum between these two activations in daily life, but sometimes a much rarer occurrence may happen when we move into a much older (“phylogenetically” speaking) branch of the parasympathetic, which we share with all invertebrates. It is a freeze response at the perception of imminent death, and mammals will go limp, pass out and feign death. Reptiles will freeze. Turtles retract.

It’s the stimulation of this older branch, which has become the focus of trauma theory/therapy and how those that may have been activated in this part of their nervous system in the past find eye contact difficult and may have a mask like appearance to their face. In other words, their social engagement system has a tendency to go ‘offline’.

Equally, it’s through eye contact and speaking with a certain tone of voice that has the capacity to bring people back ‘online’. The yoga teacher’s voice may be one reason why nervous or seemingly disengaged students may show up every week.

It’s so intrinsic to our system that the means of communication can both cause harm and sooth or stabilise. If you have a tendency to go ‘offline’ yourself, then teaching a class where students are appropriately encouraged to go ‘offline’ may actually have a long-term detrimental effect. Dr Porges describes our perception of something like this as “neuroception” which is beyond our normal means of perception. It’s what our nervous system is picking up under the radar.

When we teach one-to-one, we’re much more active in our social engagement system. Our students talk to us and give us subtle feedback in their faces and voice. In turn, this regulates us, and we may respond by becoming more attuned. Our middle ear sharpens to listen and ‘be present’ to them. In fact, there is a reciprocal cycle of attunement and regulation going on whilst working, amplified by the meditative modality of the yoga practice. It’s not to say that teaching a class may be harmful – it’s just that being aware of what neuroception may be happening can be helpful in keeping us online when we teach, and that having some one-to-one clients every week may help us to reset our own social engagement levels.

Kate is one of triyoga’s senior teachers and has been teaching for 17 years. She’s also a practising body psychotherapist and has been teaching on the triyoga 200 hour teacher training programme since the early days of its inception.

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