13 Easy Tips For New Yoga Instructors

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I’ve created this list of 13 tips that I use in my yoga teachings to help new yoga instructors get more comfortable when they begin teaching!

1. Get grounded. Be present. Practice what you preach. Take a few breathes before the beginning of your class or when needed during your class. Energy is contagious and it’s up to you to set the vibe of the room.

2. Figure out what it is you want to give people besides a workout. For myself, it’s getting people out of their heads and into the present moment. It sometimes shifts but set an intention pre-class to set the tone. Come back to that intention throughout the class in different ways.

3. Move around the class. Stand at the front of the class as little as possible.

4. Be hands on. Give an adjustment to someone every child’s pose and savasana. Assist people VERY gently in getting deeper into their poses. If you are not comfortable touching people make space at the beginning of your class and ask your students when they are in child’s pose to raise their hand if they prefer not to be touched.

5. Guide people to move with their breathe. Compliment breathe use. Get the class breathing as one. This will give you more control of the room when moving dynamically. Also, this is Yoga. It’s all about the breathe. It’s EVERYTHING. Constantly come back to it.

6. Compliment the entire class. Tell them how awesome and strong they are. Be their emotional support especially when they seem to be struggling.

7. Learn peoples names and every now and again say, “Great job, _______!” When you notice that particular person giving it their all or even needing that extra push. This is Community and within this community set it up that we are not in this room to compete but to cheer each other on.

8. Give different options for poses. Although, don’t tell them one is more advanced than the other. You don’t want anyone feeling weak or lesser than another. People are stronger than they think they are.

9. Get to know the people coming to your classes. What are they working on in their yoga practice? Is it physical or energetic? Get them to feel comfortable in sharing with you.

10. If you make a mistake in your class, keep going. They probably don’t even notice or care until you start making fun of yourself. The class is about them and not you so talk about yourself as little as possible and rarely use the word “I”.

11. Try not to use your “yoga voice” for the entire class. If you are guiding a more relaxing pose use a relaxing voice. If you have someone in a challenging pose use a stronger voice.

12. Create a class finisher. For example, I use “Close your eyes and bring your hands to your heart. Rub your hands together and place your hands over you eyes. Take a breathe in and sigh it out. Open your eyes in the warmth of your palms and bring your hands to your heart. Namaste.” every single class. My personal favourite teacher reads a quote or a poem at the end. Make it something that leaves people feeling relaxed and like they can’t wait to do that with you again.

13. Last but not least, continue to take yoga classes as much as possible. Take notice to what works and what doesn’t work. Bring this to your classes. Also, home practice! I can’t recommend this enough. At least once a week. This is the easiest way to refine your cues.

Of course not every point will be for everyone but take what you need and leave what doesn’t serve you.

Best of luck to each new teacher out there!

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How To Have A Smaller Ecological Footprint And Be More Content In Your Life

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There are so many ways to have a smaller ecological footprint these days. You can unplug electrical devices, shop local or second hand, drive less and so much more. I’ve narrowed down my choices on the subject to just 5 pieces of advice that you can apply to your life to start being more “green”.

Change doesn’t happen over night. I lived the first 25 years of my life almost completely blind to the fact that everything I purchased, everything that I got rid of and even the things I ate had a giant impact on the world around me.

I see the piles of waste in the small hidden corners of my city and I’ve travelled the world and have witnessed it there too. This is not only my problem or yours but it’s everywhere and our future generations will suffer because of it if we don’t start making changes in our personal lives.

So, here’s my list. I truly hope you can take something from it. These are not things I have googled. This is a list I consciously use every day in my own life.

1. Eat less animal products! 

Seriously. Just stop. No more excuses. We all know how terrible it is for the environment by now. If you don’t, stop reading. Go watch Cowspiracy and enlighten yourself. Educate yourself about the food you are putting into your body. I promise for whatever reason, by switching to foods without any traces of animal products in them you will have to start making more food from scratch and buying more food in bulk resulting in less waste. That is just ONE of the benefits.

2. Meal plan! 

This one can be work but it will make your life SO much easier in the long run. Meal planning and cooking in advance will change your life. Buy large bags of rice and flour. The larger the bulk items you buy, the less you spend and the less waste there will be. I once made 50 pancakes and outside of my smoothies I didn’t have to purchase a breakfast item for months. Oh, also, casseroles. Rice casseroles. Potato casseroles. Pasta casseroles. Make 2 at a time. Total game changer.

3. Donate!

Give stuff away. Like, almost everything. Go through every drawer, pick through every single piece of clothing, reassess if you need all of those pictures on your walls. Get rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy. Someone else is going to use it and love it! One mans trash is another mans treasure. And once you go through everything you own, go through it all again. It’s a constant process we should all be doing. Stop having attachments to things that are causing any sort of inner turmoil or chaos. A lot of the stuff we own is only because we think we need it because someone on television, on the radio or in a magazine told us we need it. It’s a hard truth but the truth is exactly what it is. So donate. Give someone else the chance to reuse an item by reducing the things you own.

4. Figure out what is a want and what is a need! 

This is a hard one. We are taught that, “you work so hard, you deserve this”. Who made that up anyway? What in the hell is the point of working so hard if you’re just going to blow it on something you don’t really need. How about this: WORK LESS. Spend more time with friends and family, go for a walk, bake something, make goals, and just simply SPEND LESS. There are far better things we can do with our time rather than spending money and making money. Which leads me to my last and final piece of advice on having a smaller ecological footprint.

5. Stop using things to make you feel happiness! 

This one is huge and probably the most important. We are all guilty of it. My advice is to start taking happiness out of the equation and try to simply feel content. There is a long way from feeling like crap about yourself and your life to feeling happy about everything. Sure, buying yourself that shirt, sofa or donut will give you immediate happiness but as quickly as that purchase made you feel good, at that same speed the dissatisfaction with yourself and your life creeps back in. That happiness is unmaintainable. Start by doing the self work. Go to a yoga class, mediatate daily, find time for nature, reflect on your past, figure out what is the cause of the sadness that is inspiring all of the purchases. Once you can find some peace and forgiveness you will become more content with your life the way it is with the things you already own. Happiness can then come in times that are least expected. For me it is sitting alone in nature watching the wind move the leaves, a phone call from an old friend or seeing my parents hold hands after decades of being together. Happiness is the little things and not the purchases on our credit cards.

Love yourself and it will reflect in the way you live your life behind closed doors when no one is watching.

 

There Is No Joy Without Gratitude

You know, some days, I really want to give into feeling like crap. It’s a lot of work to feel good day to day when you experience pain in your heart and soul from past trauma. When I say past trauma I’m talking about childhood stuff. There is no ranking order on these things. It can range anywhere from being bullied, to your parents not telling you they love you enough, to emotional or physical abuse. I don’t really care how high or low on the level system you think your experiences lie, in regards to trauma, they are experiences nonetheless.

These traumatic experiences have the power to stay with you your entire life if you let it. And that is exactly why I continue every day to keep doing the self work and to not “feel like crap”. I’ve been down that rabbit hole one too many times and that rabbit hole will only get deeper and deeper if you give in.

Traumatic experiences can create feelings of anxiety and depression.  What is anxiety and depression you ask? In most cases, it is repressed emotions from our traumatic history. I bet you think your childhood experience falls low in the ranking order of trauma, so you didn’t even consider that, did you?

Maybe you think you were born with anxiety, or it is a hormone thing, or neurological. Maybe it is that. But what if I told you that most of your anxious feelings and depression you hold onto stems from your childhood experiences?

I recently had a very smart man share this scenario with me at a seminar I went to called “Spontaneous Awakening”. During the seminar he said to us, “Imagine that you are living in the second level of a house. In the basement there is a fire burning. The smoke from that fire keeps billowing up the stairs so you can’t breathe. You can open up the windows to let some of the smoke out but until you put the fire out the smoke is going to keep coming up the stairs to ruin your life.”

What he was saying is that the fire is your childhood trauma and the smoke is the feelings that come with not dealing with your past. Opening the windows is doing things like going to a yoga class, getting a Reiki service or spending time doing things that make you feel good. Every now and again maybe all of the smoke clears. But, after a while since the fire is still burning, eventually the upstairs will again fill with smoke. “How do we put out the fire?” He asks. “HOW?!” “You find someone to help you put it out.” For me personally, it was through the help of a life coach. For you, who knows. Simple fact of the matter is that you cannot do it by yourself.

These feelings of anxiety and depression also come with feelings of shame. Shame results in isolating yourself. People who experience trauma, especially ones who have been down the rabbit hole for a while, feel alone. But the fact of the matter is that we have all experienced some sort of childhood trauma that has caused another sort of backlash and patterns that we might not be proud of in our teenage and adult years. You are not alone. Shame cannot survive empathy. So share. Share, share, share. We can all relate to one another.

Thats a big one. We can all relate to one another. Everyone. You can even relate to the person who caused you the trauma in the first place. They too, are experiencing their own trauma. Hurt people will hurt people. They do. It’s a fact. Have some empathy of your own. Forgive them and begin to heal.

Once you have figured out what your childhood trauma even is (you may not even know!) and you have forgiven the people who have hurt you (who are victims themselves in their own reality) you can now start feeling grateful for these experiences. You are an incredible, amazing, beautiful, strong and invincible human being. Without every single experience in your life you would not be the insanely unique person you are today.

For some it may take a while to realize what it is that your trauma has given you but once you see that your life will change. The ability to forgive and to be grateful for the things that have caused you pain is a true super power. Harness it. Breathe in forgiveness. Breathe in gratitude. Breathe in joy. Every day. Breathe it all in. You deserve it. You are worthy of love in all forms.