Staying Inspired as a Yoga Teacher

IMG_9984As a full-time yoga teacher it can be hard at times to stay inspired, to keep your cup full and stay fresh and excited about your offering. As we all know the saying goes ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. As yoga teachers we give a LOT and sometimes we can feel a little stagnant with what we are offering, we fall into habitual patterns and get sick of the sound of our own voice if we don’t continuously find differing ways to stay energised and inspired.

I enjoy learning so much and if I had the time and resource I would be doing every workshop and training under the sun, however i don’t!  I, like everyone else I know, am pretty time poor! I am a full-time mama, I teach 16 classes a week as well as 2 (soon to be 3!) yoga teacher trainings a year. I am a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter; life is full on and I think its safe to say we all struggle to carve out enough time for each of the roles we play in this life and find any kind of ‘work- life balance’, so as much as I would like to jet off to Bali and do every training that tickles my fancy – I can’t and I am sure most of you can’t either.

So what can we do?

Read, Research and Move!

I move & study every single day and fall down a rabbit hole of research regularly.  I am passionate about  the importance of continuously learning as yoga teachers and keeping up to date with new breakthroughs and information,  but most of all the importance of staying inspired and being really excited about what we do! There is nothing better than walking into every class you teach inspired and excited to share!

Sometimes this is born simply from our movement practise (I’ll write a separate blog about staying physically inspired!)  But I get daily inspiration from reading and researching topics I am interested in. I tend to have 6 or more books on the go, some that I will dip in and out of and some I will read from front to back a number of times, dependant on what I feel I need. They will all have slightly different themes from anatomical, neuro-scientific to spiritual, philosophical and all in between. 

Lots of you have asked what i read to stay inspired, so I thought I’d pull together a list for you all to dive in to. These books have all greatly inspired my teaching in some way shape or form over the last year or so. Some I haven’t yet finished yet, some I have read numerous times!

Enjoy! 

Intelligent Yoga – Pete Blackaby 

A must read for every yoga teacher! It Is what it says on the tin. Intelligent yoga is about moving beyond the dogmatic offering and really questioning what and why we offer certain asanas and techniques within yoga,, giving relevant alternatives and really encouraging us as teachers to continuously enquire and question – why are we doing this? Beautifully designed and easy to read.

Sensitive Chaos: Creation of Flowing forms in Water & Air – 

This book is so beautifully written and is backed up with lots of in-depth research, all about the rhythms and flowing forms that water takes in its many forms. Poetic and scientific simultaneously. 

Emptiness Dancing – Adyashanti

This is a stunning book about samadhi, dhyana and dharma and the inner-ness of life. From Adyashaniti’s own experiences of awakening, It’s about the essence of who we are and how easy it really is to wake up! 

Anatomy Trains – Thomas Myers 

This is one of my main go-to books about fascia, can be a bit of a tough read if you’re starting out on your anatomy journey but if you’ve solidified the basics this is a gem. Very much a dip in as and when you need it book! 

Yoga, Fascia, Anatomy & Movement – Joanne Sarah Avison 

Easier to read than anatomy trains: This book is amazing – it draws on all of Thomas Myers work and brings it in to a yoga context. Easy to read and covers everything from the history of fascia gives attainable insights in to how to bring this framework in to the classroom

Your Inner Fish- Neil Shubin

I’m in the early stages of this book, but already mind blown! Written by the palaeontologist that found the first ever fish; mammal it draws on genetic research and talks about the evolution of this body as we know it.

Move Your DNA – Katie Bowman

This book is amazing, it discusses the importance of every day movement on our DNA and the lack of movement being the overriding cause of Dis-Ease. Katie Bowman is a biomechanist and her writing and knowledge is accessible and totally ground breaking.  

Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve: Self Help exercises for Anxiety, Depression, Trauma & Autism

Another one currently blowing my mind. My current main interest is neurobiology and this book is a solid breakdown of the importance of cranial nerves in maintaining psychological & physical well-being. It discusses the all important Vagus Nerve and breaks down the complexities of the ‘PolyVagal’ theory. Great book if this is where your interests lie and you already have a good solid understanding of the nervous system.

Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery – Eric Franklin (The Franklin Method) 

This book gives numerous imagery exercises to better help us understand the inner working s of our anatomy in motion. I would say an existing solid understanding of anatomy would be beneficial as it goes in to a lot of detail, but has some absolutely fantastic ways to bring imagery in to your teaching to help your students have a more embodied experience.

Awake in This World: Teachings from Yoga and Buddhism for living an engaged life – Michael Stone

My most favourite book by the late and great Michael Stone, one of my favourite writers and teachers, he writes so beautifully and for me really brought the context of ‘enlightenment’ in to a more relevant and modern context. I have read this book six times and still find magic when called to open it again. 

There are lots more, but I think that is enough to be keeping you inspired for a while! 

Let me know what you choose to read and how it has informed and inspired your teaching. x

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