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Tips for Teachers

Teaching yoga is a complicated, inspiring calling that brings to bear all our talents, knowledge and empathy. Read about the honor of teaching from some of the most experienced teachers around
  • Ending a Yoga Class

    Ending a Yoga Class
    When we begin teaching at a certain time, we don’t usually envision the class ending. Such was the case with my Monday noon-1:00 pm. Class I started teaching three years ago. The class was one of the first at a new yoga studio in the west side of our town where there aren’t other yoga studios, which tend to be clumped on the east side. Our hopes were high: this was a suburban area with lots of people, and surely many would want to come practice yoga in their own neighborhood.

    While the yoga...

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  • Yoga Gossip: Have You Ever Been Dissed by Another Teacher?

    The Yoga Gossip Machine:  What Do You Do When Another Teacher Disses You Behind Your Back?
    When students ask my opinion about another teacher in town, I’m deliberately vague. First, with the plethora of teachers (100 or more) being trained annually in various local trainings, I no longer know 99 percent of the teachers in town. Second, even if I do know the teacher about whom they’re inquiring, I don’t necessarily know how the student and teacher might connect. I encourage them to find out for themselves if another teacher might have something valuable to teach them. My response is...

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  • What to Do When Your Yoga Class Falls Asleep

    What To Do When Your Whole Yoga Class Falls Asleep
    They fell asleep, every last one of them. I could tell people were dozing off when I led them through a guided imagery in Savasana, telling them about the need for rest and replenishment as the seasons changed. They obviously took me at my word. Snoring abounded. Slow, deep breathing took over. Some people’s eyelids fluttered just a bit; others had their tired eyes well hidden under eye pillows.

    By the time I was done with the meditation, and it was time to go, everyone was marvelously relaxed, which...

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  • Experienced Yoga Teachers - What You Don’t Know Counts

    Facilitating the Flow of Prana with a Yoga Block

    Why Beginning Teachers are More Confident than Experienced Yoga Teachers
    Yesterday morning one of my students asked me how my teaching has changed over the last 29 years. A few things came to mind: I no longer feel an ego need to demonstrate show-off poses. I no longer interpret “beginning,” “intermediate,” or “advanced” through the lens of what a person’s body can or can’t do. But most important, I’m a whole lot less confident that I know the answers than I was when I started.


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  • Growing a Yoga Community

    What Size Class Suits Your Teaching Style?

    Your Yoga Community:  Does Size Matter?
    The photos are everywhere. Yoga classes depicted in mainstream media often show an endless sea of mats, their occupants performing mirror-image poses of one another. Sometimes finding the microphone-adorned teacher is akin to playing “Where’s Waldo?”

    These photos, while they may depict reality for some of the yoga world’s best-known teachers, are not reality for the thousands of teachers across the country that teach regular classes in studios, gyms, church basements and community spaces around the country. Most of us teach to...

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  • Digestive Demons on the Loose: When You Suddenly Get Sick in the Middle of Teaching Yoga

    When Digestive Demons Spring to Life in Your Yoga Class

    I had just led the class in the opening Sun Salutations when it hit: a fast-moving stomach flu that made me almost sink to my knees. Luckily, I could, telling the students we were going to do some seated poses. I kept my eyes steady as the waves roared diagonally through my torso. While I didn’t need to rush to the bathroom yet, staying focused was more challenging than correctly adding all the numbers for this year’s taxes.

    At the same time, I soon realized I wasn’t the...

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  • What’s Normal Range of Motion?


    And how does understanding range of motion help us in our Yoga practice?

    Have you ever wanted to get into an intermediate or advanced class and been told that you had to be able to do Lotus Pose, or do Upward Bow with straight arms? I’ve never been a fan of this type of classification, partly because it takes into consideration only one small part of a person’s Yoga experience. This type of classification not only ignores one's body/mind connection, but it also denies the reality of the wide...

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  • An Open Letter to New Yoga Teachers

    An Open Letter to New Yoga Teachers
    Yesterday was the last day of a yoga teacher training that began in September. Inspired by the group’s great courage and heart, I’ve written them an open letter that I hope will be of help to them and to anyone starting out on the path of teaching:

    Dear Friends,
    Let me begin by saying that being in your presence all these months has been a privilege beyond my highest expectations. When I reflect on where we—students and teachers—started in our travels together and where we are in this moment, I am both...

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  • Are You a Yoga Visionary? Think Again


    What is a Yoga Visionary Anyway?
    This morning Maya Devi Georg, a blogger on Brahmaloka or Bust and Yoganonymous, posed an interesting question on Facebook: “Why do some teachers never acknowledge their own teachers? They'll refer to themselves as ‘visionaries,’ ‘philosophers’ and ‘enlightened.’ But no mention of training, education, or the teachers that helped the along the way. What is that about?”

    A spirited discussion has ensued. Some commenters wondered if these teachers had not studied with a particular mentor or small group of mentors and...

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  • Yoga Heals — Most of the Time


    Yoga Heals — Most of the Time
    A yoga teaching colleague recently related a story about a student at her studio who suffers from a rare neurological condition that causes tremors. Yoga, with its ability to smooth out your nervous system ought to be the perfect solution, right?

    In this case, not so much. The student’s condition had actually been worsening, causing suffering for herself, and distracting her fellow students. The fact that she is exploring yoga as a possible way to alleviate her symptoms is certainly positive. But when my...

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