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Shall we be sharing our personal experiences in classes?

Teaching is a soft skill.

Yoga is a heart-centered subject.

First, we should never OVERSHARE. Bringing our personal matters into the classroom is not professional.

Even if you have the shittiest day, you are not going to show up in class telling students that it’s pouring and your daughter missed the bus and you got into a fight with your husband so excuse me if I appear to be in a bad mood.

However, if there is some personal experience, that you think it’s useful to share with students to HELP them with their practice, or their life, storytelling and sharing our experience can be a nice way to connect with students.

But it’s also tricky.

Most students come in wanting to work out. They want physical practice. They only have one hour. They have to rush to work.

The last thing they want is to hear your yoga transformation story. Just get me in Downdog and move. They would think.

Does it mean we should just go in and just teach poses? Not necessarily.

But if you want to share something MORE than the asana practice itself, it has to be carefully thought out and convey a deliberate message.

Here are some examples.

𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝗮𝗻𝗮 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲.

E.g. I used to think yoga practice is all about controlling our bodies. I force myself into poses. It didn’t feel good, and sometimes even injured me. More and more I realize letting go is equally important.

Today, I would invite you to practice letting go of your body a little bit when you feel resistance, and see whether you can relax and ease into the poses. I will emphasize which part of the body you need to relax a little bit more to feel the release.

𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝘀𝗮𝗻𝗮 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗹𝘆 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀, 𝘀𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲.

E.g. When teaching Camel pose, you can say, “𝘐 𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘐 𝘥𝘰 𝘊𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘭, 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘺 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘮𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘍𝘐𝘙𝘚𝘛 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘺 𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘢𝘳 𝘪𝘯..” That was transformative for me. So let’s try that today and see how you feel.

𝗜𝘁 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝘂𝗻𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝗴𝗮. 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀.

E.g. This morning my daughter told me she doesn’t like Chinese class because it’s the only class where the teacher talks and students just listen and follow instructions, while in other classes she feels she has the opportunity to contribute her thoughts. It reminds me how important it is for students to take ownership of their practice.

So today, instead of just following my instructions, I invite you to feel yourself out in every pose. I am here to guide you, but ask yourself how you feel in poses. Observe, and see what works (or doesn’t work for you).

Still, not everyone is going to like it. And you do not need everyone to like it.

But if you feel it’s the right message, don’t shy away from sharing the message you need them to hear.

Another way to share your stories is outside of the yoga mat.

I get on IG Live twice a week to talk about yoga and life.

On Mondays at 9 am, I have a “𝗬𝗼𝗴𝗮 𝗢𝗳𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝘁 IG talk when I share about connecting yoga in our daily lives.

On Thursday at 12pm, I do a “𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲” IG talks when I share more on the connecting ourselves in our asana practice.

𝗦𝗸𝗶𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗔𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻

A teacher can only feel authentic when they teach beyond giving instructions. Sharing personal experiences is a great way to connect with students. But it can be tricky.

In my 1:1 Skills in Action Program, I help teachers to develop language so they can weave their personal experiences into their teachings.

𝗠𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺

We all want to teach more than giving instructions. Weaving in yoga philosophy. Sharing our own experience. It is tricky.

But, philosophy really is learning how to live. And teaching must be embodied and come from our own experience. So, it is a skill that we want to develop if we want to be more authentic teachers who teach beyond poses.

In this mentorship program, you will learn how to weave in yoga philosophy in an easily digestible way and share your own stories within your yoga classes. The result is students feel more connected to themselves and to you.

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