Have you ever taken a yoga class and you could just tell that the teacher was not into it? Or were you that teacher standing in front of the class, looking out at the mats, passionless? Fortunately, there is a remedy...
And that is to...
Get down and get funky on your trusty yoga mat!
...And I don't mean go to a workshop or a retreat and come back inspired every now and then. I am talking about continual, non-stop re-fueling. Whether you teach yoga or not, this means getting on your yoga mat consistently, at your home, in a class, or at a practice for teachers and advanced students.
In 2001, I started teaching classes at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City, founded by NY yogini legend, Dana Trixie Flynn and star partner, Jasmine Tarkeshi.
What I loved about Dana's class was that even after so many years of teaching yoga, I never caught her standing in front of the room teaching un-inventively or leading a run of the mill sequence with a humdrum theme. Why?
Well, as I learned, Dana was on her mat every day, dancing, experimenting and creating magic. The juice around the practice was so compelling, it seeped into her teaching in ways that made her classes "events" you did not want to miss.
Dana and I started practicing together at Laughing Lotus weekly, inviting other teachers to join us.
I look back at those days fondly. It was a laboratory for yoga craziness...learning about our bodies and where we needed strength, where we needed opening, experimenting with zany postures, making up new ones, how to best get into advanced poses and more. We did timings, repetitions, played ridiculous music and laughed.
In that spirit of creativity and togetherness, I had some of the biggest breakthroughs in my yoga practice yet.
It was this memory that came with me to Colorado when I moved in 2004. So when I found a teacher's practice going on called "The Tigress", I knew I was home again.
With out touching regularly into your practice, the only thing to fuel your teaching is the stale memory of when you did have a regular practice.
Like my days at Laughing Lotus, a tremendous way to advance your practice and get excited to get on the mat is to organize an informal practice in your area for teachers and advanced practioners.
"Those always fizzle out after a while" you say. Or, "No one ends up coming."
And that can be true. So...
Here is how to Organize a Practice Successfully:
- Pick a time based on the availability of the teachers in your area, either by creating a survey in Survey Monkey or doing some online research on teacher's schedules.
- Find a yoga studio that would be honored to host the practice during off hours, preferably as a community service to the local teachers.
- When you have established the above, send an email and FB invite to all the teachers!
- Start a group or create an event page in Facebook to advertise it where pictures and even videos can be posted to get people inspired.
- Be consistent and show up yourself. Repeat: Be consistent and show up yourself.
- Send out a reminder email the day before every practice and let them know what cool things might be occurring at the practice (holiday or b-day celebration, specific pose you will apex to, etc...). With out the reminders, that is when it can fizzle!
- Celebrate birthdays, holidays, milestones, and dedicate your practices often to students in the community and anyone in need.
- Either lead the practice yourself if you are the most experienced, take turns each week leading, or have all the teachers lead "round-robin" style.
This is a sure shot way to get fired up and if you teach, to set your yoga teaching on fire!
If this has worked for you, please leave a comment below - we'd love to hear it.
In my latest project, (an online teacher training called 90 Minutes to Change the World), part of the very first module addresses even more ideas like this one on cultivating your practice, plus exactly what needs to fall into place in order to get yourself on the mat so that you can teach from a place of deep inspiration.
To find out more about 90 Minutes to Change The World 101, starting this Tuesday April 5th, have fun browsing these links:
The 90 Minutes Vimeo Channel: http://vimeo.com/user4337915
Podcast Interview by Meredith Sasseen: http://bit.ly/fxAUBc
District Kula Blog: http://bit.ly/gEVHLW