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3 Ways to Conquer the 'Scary' Yoga Poses

06/24/2015 09:39 am ET | Updated Jun 24, 2016

kathryn budig teaching yoga class

"Life is full of serious moments. Creating a playful space on the yoga mat allows students to drop their insecurities and encourages them to take chances and have fun!"

Have you ever had students slink out for a bathroom break just as you call out an inversion or an arm balance? Or maybe they gracefully ball themselves into a Child's Pose until the storm has passed. Perhaps you're also guilty with a dreaded pose you just can't bring yourself to practice.

All of the above behaviors are signs of a completely normal yogi.

We all have our fear poses and desire to avoid the unknown or the seemingly dangerous. As yoga teachers, it's our job to make these postures as docile as possible. If you tell your students that a pose is hard and scary, it immediately becomes just that. If you break down the pose into accessible bits, then the student may accidentally find themselves in a pose they never thought possible!

3 Simple Teaching Tips to Help Your Students Fly

1. Use the stage door.

Like I said before, being serious and acting like a pose is the hardest thing in the world will only terrify your students. Treat every pose with levity and make it accessible to everyone in the room. You need to believe in your students in order for them to believe in themselves. If you're sneaky enough, your students won't even realize they're working on something difficult.

2. Use humor.

My students always excel faster when they're laughing. This can mean laughing after a belly flop, laughing during the journey, and squealing with delight from having an epiphany in a new pose. Life is full of serious moments. Creating a playful space on the yoga mat allows students to drop their insecurities about how well they're doing and encourages them to take chances and have fun!

Lean Kathryn Budig's final tip for conquering the scary yoga poses.

kathryn budig headshot

About Kathryn Budig

Kathryn Budig is the yoga teacher behind AIM TRUE, a regular writer for Yoga Journal, and a presenter at Yoga Journal LIVE! Her organization Poses for Paws raises funds to support animal shelters through yoga events. She shares the moments, places, and people that motivate and move her with #findyourinspiration. Discover what inspires her here in challenging asana, feel-good flows, and tips and tricks of the trade to help you advance your practice.