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Realizing The Power Behind What We Teach and Share

At a past teacher training a male student in his mid 50’s shared a compelling story with the group about the real life changing effect of the yoga practice.

He was suffering from a debilitating disease that was wrecking havoc on his body.  His daily life was a physical, mental, and emotional struggle. He felt as if he was running out of options to improve his daily living.

He arrived at his first class on the recommendation of his doctor, unsure and unconvinced about this “yoga craze”.  Beautifully, when we stepped into the yoga room for his first time, it was also a brand new teacher who was getting ready to teach her first class ever.  The teacher who loved yoga and had a passionate for sharing what she loved delivered a magical class and he was hooked.

She had a limited knowledge of yoga, had very little experience, but that mattered little.  Each one of this has this potential to make change and help each other.  This is great news for all of us!  Sharing from true passion changes people’s lives!

Since that first class one year ago, he arrived in Mexico at our teacher training 100 pounds lighter. Formerly convinced at this point that he would be in a wheelchair due to his disease and the numbing that was present in his hands and feet.  He not only was free from the numbness in his body, but he was now fully participating in a power yoga teacher training, which included 2 powerful classes a day.

As a new teacher, NEVER think that you do not have enough. Of course, staying on the growing path is integral to deepening your practice and knowledge, but if you have a passion and have felt the healing power of yoga on your mat, then you have enough to share. 

How has the power of yoga touched your life?  Share your experiences with us, leave a comment below.

Best wishes,

Karen and Sean

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5 Tips For New Yoga Teachers

You just completed teacher training, now what?

You’re ready. You’ve taught to your friends, family, your neighbors, and even your pet chihuahua. Now you are heading out from safe waters. Your new adventure and next step might be a studio, a gym, or acommunity center.

Have fun and use these tips and reminders to guide you.

1. Keep it Simple 

Use the KISS method. Keep it Simple for Students. As a new teacher, you will be most likely attracting students who are new to yoga as well. You do not need to wow them, knock their socks off, or hit a home run. Some teachers feel as if they have to throw the entire kitchen sink at them via creative sequencing, quotes and stories. The hope is that it may impress them or that it is needed for students to have a powerful yoga experience. But for students, less is more. People have enough on their plates to be bogged down and confused with complex instruction and poses, different language, overuse of yoga jargon, etc. Just showing up for students is an incredible accomplishment. They are already learning something new by just being in class.

 

2. Be Easy on Yourself

You will always teach one of the three following classes:

One. The one you plan to teach

Two. The one you actually teach

Three. The one you should have taught

Number three can stifle new teachers. I should have said this, I should have down this, etc. Some teachers will spend the entire ride home second guessing what they said and did. Learn from each class you taught and move on.

3. Use one student in the room to teach to the entire class.

For new teachers, all the students in the room may be overwhelming. To stay present and connected, look at one student when you are teaching alignment and speak to “their body.” For example, say you are teaching Warrior 1, you would look at one persons feet and speak to the foundation of the pose. Not only does that individual person benefit, but the whole room does as well, because you are connecting physically and you are present. It lands powerfully for the whole class.

4. Have a Cheat Sheet Nearby

As a new teacher, you already have enough things on your plate, such as memorizing a sequence, alignment cues, timing, etc. Make it easy on yourself and have a notebook nearby with your sequence, reminders, or whatever you need. It’s okay if you freeze or get stuck. If you do freeze, put your students in Down Dog, grab your notebook and get back on track and regain your composure.

5. Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Like attracts like. You will most likely have students new to yoga if you are new teacher. Simply, do your best. It is amazing the stories that we hear from brand new teachers. We have heard countless stories where students have attended their first class from a brand new teacher, and that specific class had a profound impact on that new students life and hooked them on yoga. The practice is potent. Just getting people to move their bodies, to experience freedom, to clean their minds with deep breathing is super powerful.  Remember when we teach, we teach for them. Share yourself. Share your love of yoga.  Students will pick up on this and it will come back to you.

“What do you like to share about yoga? What is it about the practice that lights you up? Leave a comment and tell us about it.”

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The Transformative Power of a Yoga Immersion

By taking time for yourself to step away from the busyness and the “race”, it’s possible to heal and strengthen yourself. By fully immersing yourself into the “yoga experience” which includes daily yoga, meditation, and clean food, it can be transformative. Marla from Pittsburgh shares her inspiring story from attending a training in 2013 in Costa Rica:

“In April 2013, I decided to take the plunge and become a certified yoga teacher. Although yoga had been a passion of mine, I hadn’t given teaching much thought. When I saw a spot open up at the last minute for Amazing Yoga’s Level 1 Teacher Training in Costa Rica, something told me that I just had to do it. I knew that it was my spot to take. I wasn’t sure why, but I trusted my instinct and signed up on a whim.

I went into teacher training with very few expectations. I thought that I would leave with a solid understanding of the yoga sequence and the foundational skills required to teach a basic class. Little did I know that I would leave with that and so much more!

Throughout the course of the week-long training, I found myself opening up and exploring things that I never took the time to consider in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Yoga was always a physical practice for me and teacher training allowed me to explore its’ many other aspects. I meditated for the first time and found that it was a delightful escape. I was introduced to flavorful vegetarian and vegan food and realized its’ benefits firsthand, as I felt my energy levels and my mood rise throughout the week. I formed wonderful friendships and discovered the welcoming, kind, and loving yoga community. I learned that yoga extends beyond the physical practice on your mat. It’s a way of life that embodies mind, spirit, AND body.

The self-reflection that I did at teacher training empowered me to make positive changes in my life. I found a new job, started to eat more real food, and began to teach yoga, sharing what I had learned at training with others in my local community. The power of yoga has helped me to find balance and to be kind to myself, so that I can be more open and available to those around me.”

— Marla, April 2013 Costa Rica Level 1 Teacher Training

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Remember that thrill and excitement after teaching your first yoga class after teacher training?

These faces are so full of passionate energy and love that comes when you get to share a practice that has lit you up in some way. I often get asked how do you keep your teaching fresh and inspired when you teach every week, day in and out.

Here are some tips that I have found helpful whenever I feel stuck:

1. Have a “home yoga practice”

A home practice allows you to feel and discover your practice more intimately and gives you good fuel for sharing the experience with your students. Teach what you practice, practice what you teach.

2. Continue growing and learning by expanding your heart and mind with fresh ideas and experiences

Take classes and read books that inspire you. Watch movies that move you. Sign up for workshops that get you excited.

3. Keep a yoga journal

Carry a journal with you or use an app that you can record inspiring quotes or bits of information and jot them down. I even write triumphant stories that students share with me after class. They are little gems that remind you how you are serving others. Months later I often open my journal and revisit some little bits of inspiration or stories before I teach and it can fuel a whole theme of a class. Jotting ideas also keeps me in the creative mindset.

4. Remember why you started What brought you to yoga?

How does it make you feel? We can get in the habit of just showing up and going through the motions. Remember that spark. The best yoga teachers are passionate about what they do!

5. Keep it real.

What about yoga is real for you today? Is your yoga today about breathing when you feel overwhelmed? Trying to source inspiration from your daily real life happenings when you are feeling stuck. By acknowledging and sharing how yoga is showing up in your daily life, allows you to connect in a very real way with your students.

What do you do to keep fresh, energized, and inspired?

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You Already Have it Within You to Be an Impactful Yoga Teacher

To make an impact as a yoga teacher it requires self-discovery.  There is a myth that it requires tons of knowledge and techniques to become an inspiring yoga teacher.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.

“All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you.”   – Swami Vivekananda

To be a yoga teacher, you must be committed to making positive change in your life. You must be open to sharing your heart fully and living from your heart. Unfortunately, we have become a culture that is addicted to seeking and searching for the answers somewhere “out there”.  Some of us have become so attached to this idea of seeking that we wouldn’t even know what to do if we found what we were looking for.  Many of us even think that we are broken.  However, we are not broken and we do not need fixing.  We have just buried our spirit.  Our spirit that expresses our creativity, vitality, and wonder.  We do not need self improvement, we need self-discovery!  When we live our lives through self-discovery, we know that we are already whole.

“You’ve been walking in circles, searching. Don’t drink by the water’s edge. Throw yourself in. Become the water. Only then will your thirst end.” – Jeanette Berson

Through your yoga practice you have discovered that there is no finish line.  The ultimate exploration is meeting ourselves, not finding ourselves.  To discover your true potential, shift your focus from what you perceive to be broken to letting go of limiting beliefs that you have put upon yourself.

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