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Stagnating as a teacher

 
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MariaHagman



Joined: 28 Feb 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:35 pm    Post subject: Stagnating as a teacher Reply with quote

Dear all

I feel I am stagnating as a teacher...Having taught yin since 2009 and practising it myself, I am starting to feel like a fraud because I am running out of ideas of classes. Sometimes I even repeat a class we have done earlier.
The classes are very popular and I would love to keep teaching it, but I struggling for inspiration!
Any ideas?
Love,
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1027
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:21 am    Post subject: Stagnation as a Teacher Reply with quote

Stagnation can happen to anyone, but lets step back a moment and look at your perception of your own teaching. Why do you feel it is bad to repeat a class? Have you ever been to an Ashtanga practice? They have set series that are repeated over and over and over again. Students love that predictability. Think of Bikrams classes - again a set flow. Why do you assume that students wont like a class that your have taught before? I have several flows that I return to every couple of months because they are just so good to do, even in Yin Yoga.

In Yin Yoga, there are not so many asanas, so flows are bound to be repeated. But the beauty of this practice is that you, as the teacher, can change the discourse while repeating the same flows over and over. I generally have a number of different themes that I cycle through: the physical benefits, the energetic benefits, the meditative/mental or emotional benefits and then just storytime: your stories or other peoples stories. In each particular theme there are many different things to say.

On the other hand - why say anything? Silence is such a deep teacher. If there are no new students in my classes, then that might be the perfect time to just quietly guide the class from pose to pose and say little else while they are marinating. This is a very popular style taught by Diana Batts: the students love the depth they reach when she is quiet, and during the class she floats from student to student, quietly checking in with how they are feeling and offering props and options if they are struggling at all.

You said that your classes are very popular, so obviously your students do not share your perception nor concern. This is an inner drama. You can choose to worry about it, or embrace repetition. However, if you are truly feeling dull and uninspired - go seek new inspiration! Take classes with other teachers. Study different anatomy theories, TCM research, meditation techniques. Watch videos of Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Read Thich Nhat Hanh. Talk to your teachers.

The word inspiration comes from the Latin for spirit and breath. To become inspired - simply take a deep breath - like the kind of breath you would take before diving into the deep end of a pool. Take that breath - and dive into something new.

Good luck!
Bernie
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MariaHagman



Joined: 28 Feb 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:28 pm    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

Thank you Bernie!
I think I knew the answer deep inside...I am too much yang and struggle with repetition in my own practise, therefore I assume that people are the same as me!

I usuallly suggest to set an intention or hold a very brief ( couple of minutes) of talk in the beginning of the class to set a theme and then keep relatively quiet during the class.

You are so right in that there is nothing wrong with repeating the sequences. I think I feel the pressure from paying customer to be so amazing and innovative and to constantly give them a way to explore yin that is more amazing than the previous class....

I sometimes guide the class through sequences in Sarah Powers book Insight yoga and no one has complained when I have repeated them Smile

Love and Light
maria
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VIYOGA



Joined: 16 Oct 2017
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have been struggling with feeling lack of inspiration for teaching Yin. Bernie, thank you for your well thought-out response to the question on this thread. My challenge is coming up with new and different themes, intentions or focuses for classes. I do repeat classes often when I'm not sure what I want to teach. I go back to those classes that have really landed or worked well in the past. There is bound to be repetition with yin, especially after teaching for a few years, as there are so few yin postures compared to what can be used in a yang class. I know that part of my problem is that I don't get much opportunity to practise myself. I also have a hard time remembering or integrating the deeper themes and concepts of yoga into my brain — from the history, the yamas and niyamas, the gods and goddesses (from which stories were written that can provide beautiful/helpful analogies), and so on — all of which could provide a new angle/inspiration for creating class flows. So, I stick with simple concepts like returning to the breath as an anchor for staying present; notice your experience and sensations; playing the edge; etc.

Do you have any input or advice for staying fresh as a yin teacher and/or deepening my understanding of yoga in general and yin yoga in particular so that I can more easily plan classes that offer something new for students?
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1027
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to stay "fresh" you may find taking other teachers' classes provide inspiration. There are videos, facebook groups, etc you can check out as well.

But, remember...newer or different is not necessarily better. How many different breakfasts did you eat last year? Most people repeat the same few meals over and over again and that can be very healthy. You don't need multiple ways to brush your teeth every day to get the benefits. It is regular practice that provides the benefit.

Cheers, Bernie
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