Keeping your Yoga Teaching Fresh

yoga-funYoga “Stuff Happens”

As a yoga teacher, do you ever lie awake at night wondering if the classes you are teaching are good enough? Interesting enough? Hip enough? Challenging enough or even too demanding?

How do you keep things new and refreshed in your yoga teaching?

It is very un-yoga-like to be so “judgy” with ourselves as teachers, and ironic, too, as we strive to teach our yoga clients to let go of competition or judgment in the practice of yoga. But we are human, too, and sometimes our egos get the best of us, even in the warm and fuzzy accepting world of yoga. Here are some suggestions that might help you to keep your yoga refreshed:

  1. Take other classes at least a few times a month. This is one of the best gifts you can do for yourself as a yoga teacher. Even when you go on vacation, print out the yoga schedule of yoga classes near where you are staying and make an effort to attend a few. The great thing is you can take yoga as a student and not as a teacher so let go and put away your IPhone notes and writing journals before class! (Been there. Done that.) See what you remember on the way back to your hotel and jot down what stood out for you. Then you can incorporate these revelations into your classes. Something as simple as doing Plank Pose with your ankles crossed can add a new twist, so to speak, to the regular rundown of your classes.
  1. Geek out with other yoga lovers. Talk with them. Share ideas. Ask what they like and don’t like in their yoga classes. This is how Charlotte Bradley and I met; Geeking out over yoga together through her newsletter and website! I gain so much reading her material and trying her sequences. We are very much on the same wavelength in how we look at yoga and wanting to share it with others. Find teachers or websites that speak to you and subscribe to their newsletters.
  1. Dabble in different types of yoga. This can be a touchy subject, in terms of certification. I am not saying you should claim to be a Bikram yoga teacher, but you can incorporate certain styles and poses into a class that you already teach. I will often add Yin Yoga poses at the end of a challenging Vinyasa flow class or I will offer half of a Bikram yoga class and then contrast it with some flowing sequences. (I know; for the yoga purists out there, you are wincing. I used to be a choreographer so please forgive my tendencies.) Visit sites once a week for new ideas and inspiration. Treat yourself to one YouTube viewing a day that shows different styles of yoga.
  1. Focus on a Pose or Sequence of the Day. I will often teach my YogaFit style class (with some variation each week) that most of my clients know well. But I make the effort to add what I call the “Pose du jour” which is a concentrated pose like Crow Pose or Frog Pose that takes more time to master. Include time in your classes to offer a new sequence. For example, during a full moon, I like to add a Moon Salutation in place of a Sun Salutation. Many yoga magazines offer creative sequences that may help with your class planning.

Please share how you keep your yoga classes new and refreshed (whether you are a teacher or not.) Let’s geek out together and get those creative yoga juices flowing!

Image courtesy of Eric Ward

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