A New person attended one of my yoga classes today. This person had only ever tried one yoga class whilst on holiday before. After class, they commented to me that they were surprised to have found my descriptions of poses, instructions and guidance around breath and sequencing easy to follow and understand. They were easy to follow so the person was able to achieve and explore the practice without having to be able to see me demonstrating. Quite quickly the person found there was no need to even watch others in the class.
I guess my descriptions and guidance were delivered in a way that was easily understood for that person but the fact that this person was able to stay so attentive and focused on my voice helped enormously.
Perhaps this person’s preferred learning style is auditory?
Did you know that each of us usually has a preferred/dominant learning style/preference?
You may be a visual learner, relying mostly on the sense of sight to see or watch things or have visual aids to support your learning.
You may be an auditory learner, relying mostly on the sense of hearing to learn by listening.
You may be a kinaesthetic learner who learns through hands on, using their sense of touch.
It is very likely that you will have more than one preference but one is usually dominant.
How does knowing this help me in Yoga class?
In a yoga class, it is the job of the teacher to lead the class in a way that makes understanding easy for all those in the class. It is not the fault of the student if they don’t understand or cannot translate the instructions given.
As the teacher, I need to constantly check around the room and be aware if anyone may not have been able to follow my guidance. I need to work out if I need to describe something differently, or perhaps demonstrate a pose.
For the kinaesthetic learner, I might need to describe in more detail using words that guide them to feel their way into a pose and lead them to explore via their sense of touch.
For the auditory learner, I may have not spoken clearly or loudly enough or I may have used unfamiliar language or words.
For a visual learner, a demonstration is often helpful and sometimes an analogy can be useful.
Often a combination of the above creates the right recipe.
Can I do anything to help myself?
You, as the student in class can help yourself by positioning yourself in the room so that you can take best advantage of your preferred or dominant learning style. Can you see the teacher clearly? Can you hear the teacher clearly?
Please, please, please, let the teacher know you don't understand or are not able to follow the instructions if you feel they haven't noticed you are confused. It's not your fault.
I am grateful to my own teachers who over the years have helped me develop the skills to convey as best I can to my students. However, there will always be times I don’t do as well as I would like. I love to be challenged and I am always willing to find another way to help a student experience the benefits of yoga.
How do I know my preferred learning style? (I hear you ask.)
Below is a VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) Learning Styles Self Assessment Questionnaire, designed to help you work that out if you are interested. Give it a go……..
Circle or tick the answer that most represents how you generally behave.
1. When I operate new equipment I generally:
a) read the instructions first
b) listen to an explanation from someone who has used it before
c) go ahead and have a go, I can figure it out as I use it
2. When I need directions for traveling I usually:
a) look at a map
b) ask for spoken directions
c) follow my nose and maybe use a compass
3. When I cook a new dish, I like to:
a) follow a written recipe
b) call a friend for an explanation
c) follow my instincts, testing as I cook
4. If I am teaching someone something new, I tend to:
a) write instructions down for them
b) give a verbal explanation
c) demonstrate first and then let them have a go
5. I tend to say:
a) watch how I do it
b) listen to me explain
c) you have a go
6. During my free time I most enjoy:
a) going to museums and galleries
b) listening to music and talking to my friends
c) playing sport or doing DIY
7. When I go shopping for clothes, I tend to:
a) imagine what they would look like on
b) discuss them with the shop staff
c) try them on and test them out
8. When I am choosing a holiday I usually:
a) read lots of brochures
b) listen to recommendations from friends
c) imagine what it would be like to be there
9. If I was buying a new car, I would:
a) read reviews in newspapers and magazines
b) discuss what I need with my friends
c) test-drive lots of different types
10. When I am learning a new skill, I am most comfortable:
a) watching what the teacher is doing
b) talking through with the teacher exactly what I am supposed to do
c) give it a try myself and work it out as I go
11. If I am choosing food off a menu, I tend to:
a) imagine what the food will look like
b) talk through the options in my head or with my partner
c) imagine what the food will taste like
12. When I listen to a band, I can’t help:
a) watching the band members and other people in the audience
b) listening to the lyrics and the beats
c) moving in time with the music
13. When I concentrate, I most often:
a) focus on the words or pictures in front of me
b) discuss the problem and the possible solutions in my head
c) move around a lot, fiddle with pens and pencils and touch things
14. I choose household furnishing because I like:
a) their colours and how they look
b) the descriptions the sales-people give me
c) the textures and what it feels like to touch them
15. My first memory is of:
a) looking at something
b) being spoken to
c) doing something
16. When I am anxious, I:
a) visualise the worst-case scenarios
b) talk over in my head what worries me most
c) can’t sit still, fiddle and move around constantly
17. I feel especially connected to other people because of:
a) how they look
b) what they say to me
c) how they make me feel
18. When I have to revise for an exam, I generally:
a) write lots of revision notes and diagrams
b) talk over my notes, alone or with other people
c) imagine making the movement or creating the formula
19. If I am explaining to someone I tend to:
a) show them what I mean
b) explain to them in different ways until they understand
c) encourage them to try and talk them through my ideas as they do it
20. I really love:
a) watching films, photography, looking at art or people watching
b) listening to music, the radio or talking to friends
c) taking part in sporting activities, eating fine foods and wines and dancing
21. Most of my free time is spent:
a) watching television
b) talking to friends
c) doing a physical activity or making things
22. When I first contact a new person, I usually:
a) arrange a face to face meeting
b) talk to them on the telephone
c) try to get together while doing something else, such as an activity or a meal
23. I first notice how people:
a) look and dress
b) sound and speak
c) stand and move
24. If I am angry, I tend to:
a) keep replaying in my mind what it is that has upset me
b) raise my voice and tell people how I feel
c) stamp about, slam doors and physically demonstrate my anger
25. I find it easiest to remember:
c) things I have done
26. I think you can tell if someone is lying if:
a) they avoid looking at you
b) their voice changes
c) they give me funny vibes
27. When I meet an old friend:
a) I say “It’s great to see you!”
b) I say “It’s great to hear from you!”
c) I give them a hug or a handshake
28. I remember things best by:
a) writing notes or keeping printed details
b) saying them aloud or repeating words and key points in my head
c) doing or practising the activity or imagining it being done
29. If I have to complain about faulty goods, I am most comfortable:
a) writing a letter
b) complaining over the phone
c) taking them back to the store or posting them back to head office
30. I tend to say:
a) I see what you mean
b) I hear what you are saying
c) I know how you feel
Now add up how many A’s, B’s and C’s you selected.
If you chose mostly A’s you have a VISUAL learning style
If you chose mostly B’s you have an AUDITORY learning style
If you chose mostly C’s you have a KINAESTHETIC learning style
Some people find that their learning style may be a blend of two or three styles, in this case read about the styles that apply to you in the explanation.
VAK Learning Styles Explanation
The VAK learning styles model suggests that most people can be divided into one of three preferred styles of learning. These three styles are as follows, (there is no right or wrong learning style)
People commonly have a main preferred learning style, but this will be part of a blend of all three. Some people have a very strong preference; other people have a more even mixture of two, or less commonly, three styles.
When you know your preferred learning style(s) you understand the type of learning that works best for you.
There is no right or wrong learning style. The point is that there are types of learning that are right for your own preferred learning style.