I’ve been teaching for a number of years and there are times when it’s an effort to teach. It doesn’t happen all that often but there are times when, for various reasons, it’s hard for me to connect. I feel uninspired. It’s during these times that I reach for something, for a little inspiration. Here are some things that always seem to get me back on track:
Read a good yoga book: It could be a book on sequencing ( I love Mark Stephen’s book) or a book on a particular aspect of the practice, philosophy or something else ( I really loved Anodea Judith’s book called Eastern Body, Western Mind). Educating myself, being inspired by someone else’s story or learning about a new application of the practice is always a good way to get the creative juices flowing.
Take a few classes with teachers I really like. Sometimes I get stuck in my particular way of approaching the practice. I have a few teachers I like and I’m always surprised at the different ways people can piece together the practice. This is always inspiring to me and is another way to get my mind and body back in the game.
Take a workshop. Diving into being a student is a great way to be inspired. Sometimes trying a local studio and just taking a half day workshop is all I need to get back on track. It’s always good to be a student, let someone else drive and not have to worry about anything other than learning.
Try a new studio. Changing scenery can also work. If you have a few studios around where you live (and who doesn’t at this point), just trying a new place, new teachers and not knowing quite what to expect can be a great way to be inspired. Sometimes, I lose inspiration just out of the pure routine of where I am, how I get there and the environment.
Create some new sequences to teach. There are so many different ways to piece together a yoga class and while I always suggest to new teachers that they stick with a general sequence for a while (in order to get really comfortable and minimize stress), once you’ve been teaching for a while, it can be inspiring to create some new sequences. I like to base mine on anatomical themes but maybe you want to choose something that speaks to you more, such as a philosophical theme or something more heart focused.
Look for a new anatomical theme to bring into class. I’m always trying to stay in learning when it comes to anatomy and I’m always reading, searching for articles and staying connected to teachers that have anatomy as a strong theme for their teaching. From these actions often comes a new theme I can bring into class. Sharing new information or sharing what I know but in a new way is always inspiring.
Focus on assisting in classes. There’s nothing better to get inspired than to get outside of yourself and be of service. Teaching is one aspect of being of service and assisting is part of teaching. But there are those that make assisting part of every class they teach and others that rarely assist and others that are somewhere in between. When I’m needing a bit of a boost, I’ll really focus on assisting in classes and bring that form of expression into class as much as possible.
Spend some time with a yoga mentor. It’s important as teachers that we have someone to look up to, not in the “guru” sense but in the sense of someone who has skills and expertise in different areas than where we have skills. This doesn’t mean that they are a “better” teacher but more that they have experience and knowledge in different areas. “Better” is really such a value laden term and one that doesn’t really belong in a discussion of yoga teachers. But if you have someone that has a skill you want to learn, knowledge you want to explore or maybe just has a very different style, it can be inspiring to spend time with them.
Stay open for questions after class. Along with assisting, I always find that asking if there are questions, staying after class for questions and really supporting students in this way is a great way to be inspired. It can bring me back to the roots of why I began teaching and help me tap back into that “beginner’s mind.”
Teach beginners. Along with answering questions, teaching beginners is always a great way to be inspired. Sticking to the basics, focusing on just what’s essential and finding the beauty in the individuality of the practice is all part of working with newer students and is always a sure fire bet for being filled with love and inspiration.
Sometimes, when I’m finding it hard to be inspired, it just means I need to rest. Stay alert for these signs so you are on top of when you need to take a day off and just sleep in and take good care of yourself.