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The Yoga Teacher Chronicles: Using Verbal Cues vs. Visual Demonstration



Welcome to the The Yoga Teacher Chronicles, where I share the lessons I’m learning in my first year as a Christian yoga teacher. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the process of growing into an effective yoga teacher. Of learning how to live my faith both on and off the mat.
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A few months ago I ran across the work of Francesca Cervero.  She is a local yogi whose speciality is teaching private yoga lessons and helping other instructors do the same.  Her work has been an awesome resource since this is something I'm thinking about adding to the mix. She's super generous and knowledgeable so I definitely encourage you to check her out!

In a recent video blog post she shared what she learned teaching her first private yoga lessons online.  This led me to a podcast episode where she shared her thoughts on teaching without using your body to demonstrate.  

Prior to this, I had never thought about not using my body to teach so I was definitely intrigued. In my teacher training they talked about the concept of "stepping off the mat." The intention is to be flexible in where and how we are teaching our students. Typically, however, I practice or demonstrate poses (asanas) from my mat.
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Fast forward to a few weeks later where I had the misfortune of injuring my neck.  This resulted in pain and limited range of motion.  The best part -- this happened one day before I was scheduled to teach my weekly class. Ugh!

My first thought was, "How am I going to teach my yoga class when I can barely move my head?!" My second thought was, "I guess this is as good a time as any to see what it’s like to teach just using my words, since I can't use my body."

While I am not a fan of pain/injury as a way to motivate change, I must say it can be effective!


Begin Before You're Ready


"Do something, do anything! Just make sure that you begin." - Karla Lawrence

I like to keep a stash of procrastination strategies in my back pocket “just in case”. I have a range of them that work great in different situations. I have an “I can’t work on that project right now because I’m too sleepy” strategy. I have an “Oh, let me go learn this really cool new thing over here” strategy. My personal favorite is the “I need to watch one more episode of this Netflix show even though I’ve seen it a dozen times before" strategy!  Each one provides instant (but temporary) relief from the anxiety I feel, while avoiding the thing I should be doing instead.

What's worse, is that Procrastination has been rearing her pretty head while I've been trying to work on things I actually want to do! But this time I procrastinate by trying to unpack why I’m procrastinating! It’s a vicious cycle that leads to more of less getting done, more anxiety, and more avoidance. Ugh!

Can you relate?

If so, you might be wondering, how do we stop the cycle?