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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
  • 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 was good except...

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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.

    I was not born with...

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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 groups much smaller than...

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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 only one fighting 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 range of variation among people’s...

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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 inspired and humbled. Your...

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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 therefore, had no one...

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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 friend told me that...

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  • Should You Teach Yoga When You’re Sick?


    Creating Safe Space:  Should You Teach Yoga When You’re Sick?
    Last winter dealt me a double whammy. After three years free from all manner of maladies, the sore throat/sinus/fever malaise caught me in early December. Then in the wee hours one January morning, the nasty norovirus took hold. The most violent symptoms abated after about 24 hours, but I felt the effects for four or five days. I hear that norovirus is making the rounds again this season. I’m knocking on wood …

    (FYI: Norovirus is the leading cause of temporary...

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  • Tips for Yoga Teachers: Honoring Our Teachers

    Tips for Yoga Teachers:  Honoring Our Teachers

    Teaching Yoga is an honor. It is an opportunity to share what is most sacred in us, and an opportunity to guide others in the process of transformation. This is not a small thing. It is not only an honor; it is an enormous responsibility. For who among us can point the way to transformation if we ourselves have not tread that path?

    No one steps into the role of Yoga teacher without a whole lot of support from our families, friends, communities and our own teachers—Yoga teachers and teachers of other disciplines. In other...

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