My honest advice to new yoga teachers on the path.
In a profession that requires an abundance of understanding and physical and energetic out put we must place our personal practice at the top of the list
1. Commit to self study,
learn to always witness yourself as a beginner. When we work with the energy of a beginners mind as a student on the path our periphery is widened, and we will absorb more and be witness to more of what their is to learn on this long path of yoga. Your creative ideas and kinaesthetic understanding comes from time spent on the Mat or in meditation.Continue to work with a teacher or teachers to evolve your practice, share your love for yoga with other yoga lover friends and teachers alike so that your progress is always evolving.
2. Use your life experience.
In my experience people want to connect with a teacher from an honest and truthful place. They want to feel your message, they are interested how you move through the waves and cycles of life with your yoga practice. If you are a new mom and exhausted, use that, be honest, share a practice that inspires rest and a sense deep reverence. If you are going through a divorce or vulnerable place in a relationship use that, how has your practice helped you through that time, be with it, reflect on it and transform it into a practice for self love, courage and heart healing.
If you are working with an injury or illness invest in what it means for your life, how are you learning how to move? Or not move, reflect on how you are working with what you have been given.. You can use the wisdom of this to create a practice for you students that is steeped deeply in body and breath awareness, you can offer them ways and skills to be with what is in the moment, tools to manage discomfort and uncertainty. Our life path can be used to inspire others that May not see things they way we do. These can be our greatest gifts.
3. Keep a journal.
This is a great way to express how your life ebbs and flows and you may even witness patterns in your moods or when your energy naturally waxes and wanes. You can track how your personal practice changes. For example ; when are you drawn to a fiery heat building vinyasa practice? Where is the moon when you feel drawn to move this way? When do feel like you need to slip inside of your soft shell and get quiet. When are you drawn to more restorative practices and forward bending. Where is the moon when you feel this way? You might begin to see the ways in which the tides of your own practice can inform and even theme your yoga classes. More often than not people are in rhythm with energies and you might even hear someone say ” That was exactly what I needed, how did you know?”
4. Keep learning anatomy
Evolving your understanding of anatomy will help you to understand your students. Knowing how the body works will help you effectively choose or avoid the sequencing of certain postures. Understanding the role and function of knees will help you to asses which adaptations to teach in order to help those students with knee issues. Understanding the function of the low back and it’s common issues will help you in supporting your students who need that kind of conscious care. Learning anatomy is never ending, keep studying, take a keen interest in your students who have mobility issues and do your homework. Put yourself in their shoes, what would do? They will feel so cared for that you have taken the time to understand their structure, and how yoga may help them specifically.
5. Get to know your students
If you have the pleasure of returning students you know how intimate this relationship is. They trust you, and when you sincerely ask how they are and listen, you will deepen your relationship, therefor evolve your teaching style. As much as people are drawn to move their bodies, they are longing for connection. When you can gaze out into a room full of people and know who has a hip replacement, who is going through a divorce, who is working with a new cancer prognosis and who needs to strengthen their core due to a slipped disc, this means you have taken the time to listen and care for your students. This will take you a long way. You care for people and their well being. What you are offering through your practice, your words, your touch can inspire the darkest places.
6.Teach people how to breathe.
We live in a time where the pace of life is in constant acceleration. Our nervous systems are often overwhelmed. One of the most effective ways to calm and reset ourselves is through our Breath. Conscious mindful breathing can realign us quickly. Make time in your teaching to share this with people through many of the sacred pranayama practices you have learned.
7. Make your attention your art
Use your life, your conscious attention to the daily musing as a practice in the art of living. Eat well, tend to your relationships. Get your sleep, be conscious of when you feel the burn out creep in ( it will most certainly come) and be gentle enough to asses what doesn’t serve you and gently let go..
Take one breath at a time.