The Hardest Yoga Classes to Sub

I’m ranking these based on the current offerings at our studio. In {loose} order of priority, this is based on specific style, energy needed, preparation time, and overall yoga knowledge.

So, from the easiest to the hardest, here we go:

8. Vinyasa
7. Hot Yoga

6. Gentle/Slow
5. Beginners
4. Fundamentals
3. Restorative/Yin
2. Rocket
1. Ashtanga

Both vinyasa and hot yoga include a lot of beginners. They are intended as beginner-intermediate classes. A teacher could easily get away with not even "teaching" class. You could just facilitate without teaching any poses or anything at all. They could demo a class or even just verbally talk them through. For the anonymous yogi who just wants to get in and out, that’s what most expect from these kinds of classes. Its the least strict and as freeform you can imagine. There isn’t any format or preparation required.

Fundamentals, Beginners, and Gentle/Slow attracts many beginners. Anything with beginners can be a little more of a chore because you first want to keep them safe. Secondly, they have limitations that are obvious. So you need to give lots of options and modifications. And you have to slow the class way down to workshop poses. It helps to prepare for these classes. A little preparation goes a long way. And you actually have to "teach" the class. Not teaching is not an option. You also have to be very aware of bodies. They can be very challenging classes to teach.

Restorative & Yin are not the same, but in the same category. A very good knowledge of body types, anatomy, and props are needed. You always need to prepare for this class. You have to have lots of patience with yourself. It helps to know calming phrases and imagery to usher yogis through such a thoughtful class. I’m more of a yang teacher, so teaching a yin-style is difficult for me. I may prepare 6 or 7 poses for the class expecting to hold in those postures. But I often end up running out of poses because of too fast of a tempo. It really requires a teacher to "teach" and also be very present. It takes a very special teacher to do this.

Rocket and Ashtanga are very difficult classes to teach. They are very stylistic from Ashtanga. Technically, there is one right way to do a pose. Options and modifications are [sometimes] possible, but the intention is for you to do the correct posture. These are timed sequences that vary little in the practice. And many of the postures are very difficult to accomplish. It requires a teacher to "teach" a lot! They need to adjust poses and to have a hypercritical eye. Overlay all of this with the breath, bandhas, and drishti and you end up with very complicated practices. For the experienced teacher, a lot of preparation is not required. But to be accomplished, the teacher is required to walk the walk. They need to practice a lot on their own. There is no way to fake the practice. They are by far the most difficult styles to teach.

I’ve left out several styles just because we don’t currently have those in the studio. On the same level of Ashtanga would be Kundalini and Iyengar styles. You could echo the Ashtanga paragraph for these styles. Baptiste and Bikram also follow sequences like Rocket and Ashtanga, but they are more focused on the heat and intensity aspects. They are not nearly as technical as aforementioned styles. The technical styles of Ashtanga and Iyengar are unmatched elsewhere.

For most teachers, you begin with general vinyasa styles. These styles are creative and can get very complicated and with lots of wisdom and ambience created. The effect of all styles can be the same on a student regardless of style because they aim to get to the same final point. That is, to rid their minds and bodies of random chaos and find their peace, or bliss, in the end. But for the styles that require a lot of knowledge to abide by the specific style, a lot of personal practice and study is required.

#yoga #yogateaching #styles #yogastyles #teachingstyles

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