One of the rules I like to adhere by is to not practice with the classes I teach. I prefer to walk around -- really see my students and find a connection with them. I like to help them deepen their poses by providing hands-on adjustments, and I feel they can deepen their own practice by being in the NOW, so I often speak to remaining focused and present during class.
But not practicing with the class can sometimes confuse students who are used to having a teacher practice along because suddenly they really have to listen to what's being taught instead of just copying what the teacher does.
Tonight I taught a great class of students. But many were not present to what was going on right on their own mat. They were physically present, but mentally somewhere else.
Example of this: I said, "Place your left hand down, lift your right hand up to the sky." Sounds simple, but so many students were not able to follow. I questioned if I confused them with my words. But no, the words were accurate. So, what was missing?
My teacher, Baron Baptiste, has said time and time again: "Yoga is the art of listening."
The art of listening is the ability to TUNE OUT external issues, like what someone else is doing in class or what's on your to-do list, and instead TUNE IN to what's happening right now - in the moment. The art of listening will help you focus on your breath, which will in turn encourage true vinyasa movement. You will really hear your teacher's words. Rather than needing to see what a pose looks like, you'll benefit from feeling how the pose lands in your body.
The art of listening is a simple, but powerful practice. Put it to work. And if you still happen to put the opposite hand up when it should be down, then just laugh it off... but make sure to listen to your giggles.