Standing on your head: trusting our teachers

With the help of my lovely teacher I did my first ever hand stand yesterday! It felt fabulous and was very unexpected. Now had Lisa, our yoga teacher started the class by saying “Ladies and Gents we will be ending class today by doing a hand stand”. I would have panicked! But Lisa is wiser and she knows all about setting objectives and differentiating instruction for her students. Many of my students often ask me to explain what we mean by differentiated instruction. A good yoga teacher knows all about this. Lisa had broken the task down for us. I didn’t know at the time that snuggling my feet against the wall and then walking my feet up the wall were the pre-requiste steps for doing a hand stand. I tried, I struggled and my feet kept slipping. She then told us to turn around place our hands in the same position and this time to kick one foot up so that we were standing on our hands! “Just try !”, she said. So I decided that if I was ever going to finish my book I am writing I had to try and had to work through this resistance. I tried and couldn’t do it. She came around and asked if anyone would like help getting up. I shook my head and inaudibly mummbled “Not today thank you”.The other people in the room had gotten up and had been happily standing on their hands for some time. She then did a second round and asked the same question. This time after she had helped my neighbor I quietly asked if she could just help me hop up! I didn’t want to go all the way up! She talked me through it, “Straight hands, right foot forwards, now kick up with your left…” and quite miraculously and effortlessly my two legs glided up and there I was standing on my hands! I stood up there while she chatted to the group and then when I was ready to come down, I squeaked “Lisa” and she helped me to gracefully glide back down. It felt great! Lisa had broken down the tasks depending on each students needs, she had given visual, verbal and physical prompts, she had modeled but most importantly she knew each of our levels and knew when to push and when to make things a little easier so we could all be successful.

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