If you have been teaching yoga for a while, it is very easy to find yourself in a rut: teaching the same poses, using the same language class after class, and wondering where your enthusiasm went. It may start to feel like you are running out of creative juices. Here are a few ways to spruce up your teaching and infuse your classes with more zest:
1. Stay Positive
In most yoga classes, the instruction is to pay attention to tightness or pain and to what's not working in a pose. Do the opposite: tell your students to observe what feels good in their body and spirit. What feels open, alive and juicy? Ask them to stay with that feeling, and watch it change. A little tantric exploration does the soul good.
2. Flow Freely
All yoga poses were invented, evolved or discovered by someone at some point in time. Why can't you be that someone? Next time you are on your mat practicing or teaching, add a little something to an old routine. Mix up the sequence of the poses to see what will arise. Turn on the music, and start a yoga dance. Let the creativity of the universe flow through you.
3. Do Service
One sure way to improve your teaching and get out of a rut is by offering classes to different populations like children, adults with certain conditions like MS, veterans with physical limitations, older but wiser bodies... the list goes on. Use this as a way to serve, and choose a population that speaks to your heart. Offer what you know freely, and get ready to be inspired in unexpected ways.
4. Get Inspired
Draw your teaching inspiration from your life, readings, art, DVDs, or classes you take. Or, be influenced by other modalities, like Pilates, dance, running, climbing, t'ai chi, etc.
5. Connect Deeply
Next time you are teaching, look into your students' eyes and imagine their story. Then, come up with an intention for teaching this particular class. Imagine holding a healing space for your students. It is amazing how powerful our intentions can be. People can sense your energy from your stance and the tone of your voice. Your intention will definitely shine through and touch someone.
6. Change Your Language
If you are used to teaching with a lot of descriptions and verbal language, challenge yourself to use fewer words. If you are used to keeping your descriptions short, do the opposite. Or, shift things around in class to keep your students guessing.
7. Get Back to Basics
Remember when you were a newbie teacher and you planned every class in detail? Get back to the basics, and create a plan for a killer class. This time, add all your experience and think about details like music, themes, readings, pose structures, timing, transitions, etc. This way, like an athlete getting ready for the Olympics, you will exercise your imagination and creativity. Then, throw your plan to the wind and flow freely again!
Some or all of these suggestions may work for you. Or, you may find yourself exploring other avenues for inspiration, refining your technique, and getting out of a rut. Any small changes you make should help bring new energy to your teaching and keep your class interesting and enjoyable for your students!