Book Review: The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith

Yoga is the process of skillfully turning challenges, failures, hurts, and mistakes into opportunities. – Amy Ippoliti + Taro Smith

The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga: The Yoga Professional’s Guide to a Fulfilling Career (New World Library, June 8, 2016) by Amy Ippolitti with Taro Smith is a comprehensive guide to marketing yoga teaching as a sustainable business, while upholding the integrity that the practice demands. The book is part guide, part exercises and part memoir of Ippolitti’s and Smith’s already-achieved success as yoga business professionals. In fact, the second I received the offer to review this book in my email inbox, I immediately knew I wanted to write it…because I’ve admired Ippoliti’s work for years.
62ea9d1f-4979-4049-8a51-032bdb818944.jpgI was obsessed with the name and concept of her e-course, 90 Minutes to Change the World, even though I could not afford to take it when it was live. This book, however, takes that course and mass produces its most vital content because guess what? There’s room at the top for a whole lot of successful yoga teachers (and Ippoliti and Smith even take the reader through creating their own definition of success at the beginning of the book!).

There’s an irony in how, during the one time in my life I was making a living solely by teaching yoga, I could not afford to take that e-course. This irony is a problem, and one that Ippoliti aims to solve in her book. Here are my key take-aways for how to solve that problem, that I gleaned from reading this phenomenal book:

  • We need to make sure that our yoga business embodies the ethics that our yoga practice is about.
  • Yoga teaching is both an art and a profession.
  • Schedule everything in! Including self-care!
  • As teachers, we are responsible for being skillful, which means teaching to who is in the room and managing time well. 

With chapters like “Yoga Business Basics,” “Class Planning and Preparation,” “Presenting Yourself as a Teacher,” and “Social Media,” The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga speaks to yoga teachers at all levels, from the newly trained to the once-a-week teacher to those with their eye on national, multimedia reach.

“To be a yoga teacher is to embody what it means to have well-being in life, and in turn to impart that understanding to others,” writes Amy. “Trust yourself and your own authentic seat as the teacher. Carve out and claim the time to care for yourself, do your practice, and kindle your own fire. Then watch how your enthusiasm and energy can light up another’s fire. This is how we help wake up the world.”

The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga is an amazing and comprehensive take on all a yoga teacher needs to know to run their own business successfully, with savvy, and while keeping their integrity intact. Everything is full of the intention of usefulness behind it all. It has templates for creating your own yoga binder, marketing plans, and more. From a full guide for how to sequence a yoga class to how to gain control of your finances, Ippoliti doesn’t hold back. And, while being about business, it is not a book without heart.

When I finished reading this book, as I sat on my grandmother’s dining room table (this was most definitely my vacation read), lounging around in new Spiritual Gangster sweats and my “Hoosier Valentine” t-shirt (thanks, N!), I felt a jolt of inspiration flow through me. The first Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is “Atha Yogash Nushasanam:” “NOW, the practice begins.” I now feel able to apply that wisdom to my yoga teaching practice, as well as to my own practice on the mat. I feel inspired to create marketing plans for all that I am offering this summer, when yoga becomes my main business, versus my side job like it is during the school year. My computer has shared screens; one for the PDF of Ippoliti’s book, and the other for GoogleDocs: my own marketing plan buzzing with the excitement of being a container to help me teach and make a greater impact. I will not be letting go of this book anytime soon.

To order the book, click here.

For more information, check out Ippoliti’s website.

FridayING: First Week of April

readING

listenING

  • Taylor Swift
  • Tranquility du Jour: From Day Job to Dream Job (This week’s podcast was tres inspiring!)

watchING

teachING

Yoga U.K.

This post is part of my EuroTrip 2016 series on the blog.

While in my 15 Minutes a Day post, I made clear that I did not go to Europe to do yoga (that’s what my Laughing Lotus unlimited membership in NYC is for), I did have to try the best yoga studio in each of the cities I stayed. Because duh. Because, when I first walked to the flat we were staying in in London, I saw that TriYoga was right across the street (like, a 30-second walk away). And I don’t believe in coincidences.

So here you have it, readers. Some mini-reviews of the yoga hot spots of two U.K. cities.

Meadowlark Yoga

Edinburgh, Scotland 

 

  • Location: 43 Argyle Place
  • About / From Website: “Meadowlark is so named because of its location at the Southern border of the Meadows, in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. As a concept, our community is built around the pursuit of health through Yoga, mindful eating, sensible therapeutic interventions, and going outdoors for enjoyment. Meadowlark is set up as a not-for-profit organisation, so we invest everything in the gradual improvement of our infrastructure and people in order to provide the highest standards to our clients and fellow practitioners.”
  • Teacher Who Taught: Nadine Watton
  • Class Taken: Gentle Vinyasa
  • Observations: Everyone was lovely. The teacher was extremely warm. The class filled up quickly. The gentleness of it all (as is part of the class title) mirrored the pace of the city.

TriYoga Camden

London, England 

 

  • Location: 57 Jamestown Road
  • About / From Website: “triyoga offers you a place that is dedicated to looking after you, and somewhere everyone can belong. Start or deepen your yoga practice here, learn about cutting edge personal development, yoga philosophy and meditation, or take Pilates mat + equipment classes. In addition, we have an amazing range of treatments with the best therapists. Whatever you choose, it takes place in beautiful studios or treatment rooms. We have designed an environment, class schedule and treatments schedule to nurture the health of every individual: men and women, babies, kids and teens, through to seniors – everyone triyoga!”
  • Teacher Who Taught: Eileen Gauthier
  • Class Taken: Mysore Ashtanga
  • Observations: It was very easy to just stroll on in and take class. The teacher gave the most adjustments I’d ever received in Mysore (a primarily independent practice). I am not sure, seeing as I only took one class there, but the studio does seem to specialize in Ashtanga. The studio itself was absolutely gigantic – very much so the Pure Yoga type. The locker rooms were beautiful, as were all the spaces in general. Definitely gets a lot of clientele.

Reflecting on Amy Cuddy & the Power of Presence

Last week, I went to a lecture at the 92nd St Y Lecture Series starring Amy Cuddy, interviewed by her BFF Susan Cain. It was an awesome dynamic: Susan Cain, a self-proclaimed introvert who has made explaining introversion to the world her life’s work, interviewing a woman whose life work is making people – including introverts – exude a powerful presence wherever they go and in whatever they do. That and, as I mentioned, these two mainstream academics, are actually very good friends. Their whole interaction was like watching two friends enjoy one another at a ski lodge lounge (where they talked of vacationing together the previous week). As a result, the 92nd St Y lecture hall felt more intimate than ever, and it made for some seriously juicy conversation from my favorite TED speaker.

I became attracted to Amy Cuddy because of the above TED Talk. As a yoga teacher (I think about “posing” in powerful ways in terms of the asana practice quite frequently) and as a third grade teacher that specializes in social-emotional learning, the idea of power posing really resonated as a technique that is useful, tangible, and accessible. My roommate, a Ph. D candidade in neuropsychology introduced me to her TED Talk and it transformed how I showed up for my first big public speaking event of the year: a meet the faculty night at the school I work at (I know, on a different scale than most, but parents are nerve-wracking!). Then, I realized I could use it with children: having my third graders power pose before a test or an oral presentation of their poetry. The effects made and still make my heart swell.

In terms of the yoga practice, I learned, when I listened to Cuddy’s talk, that I can incorporate it into my yoga teaching by making the concept of expansiveness a core part of the practice. Expansiveness means to almost hold the world in your hands, to take up space intentionally, and to believe that there is enough space out there – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – for everyone to take up a lot of it.

Here were my key takeaways from the talk:

  • Just as we frame talk of mindfulness as a mind-body connection, Cuddy frames talk about presence in terms of a body-mind connection. A body-mind connection is the idea that how we physically carry ourselves can change or reinforce how we mentally and emotionally feel. 
  • We store trauma in the body. Similarly, we can recover from trauma through the body. This experience feels abundantly true for me and I am forever grateful for all the work that is currently being done around trauma across disciplines. Hearing Amy Cuddy speak about her own car accident trauma and to see her powerful recovery from it was unbelievably inspiring.
  • She talked about a study on yoga for war veterans. This study showed that yoga, in small, daily practices had the potential to dramatically decrease PTSD responses. The two key words in there are “small” and “daily.”
  • There is a serious gendering of how we carry ourselves in the world (i.e. man-spread). Ladies, let’s start taking up some more space!
  • Speaking of which, Cuddy actually specializes in studying the -isms. She did not identify as a scholar on feminism or anti-racism. Instead, she identified as a scholar on sexism and racism. There’s something socially prodding about studying from a psychological standpoint that which is known as deeply problematic in the world.
  • Lastly, there difference between presence and charisma. Presence, she said, is for you to feel like you’ve done your best while charisma is the feeling that other people saw you in a certain – charismatic – way.

August + September Link Love

view from one of my first runs back (central park reservoir)

view from one of my first runs back (central park reservoir)

Introduction to the monthly Link Love column: One of my favorite blogs (and a total blogger role model of mine) is Gala Darling. Every month, Gala Darling publishes a link roundup in a narrative form of what she’s been reading. Lounging in bed on lazy Friday mornings (when I was in college) or Sunday mornings (now that I’m a working lady), I open up the links Gala posts like presents on Chanukah evenings. I want to create a similar experience for my readers…with the added bonus of documenting these reading gems so I no longer have 17 tabs open on Google Chrome. So, without further adieu, thank you Gala for the inspiration. Here is a delightful (Central Park) link carousel of my own.

August and September were possibly the busiest months of my adult life. I always hesitate identifying a “busiest month,” because I tend to (pathologically?) make myself busy most of the time. But objectively, moving back across the country + finishing a year-long AmeriCorps service + moving to my first apartment in NYC as a grownup + starting a new job = WHOA.

Anyways, because of all that, I’m combining these two Link Love columns into one. The more aggregated media the better, right? Doesn’t everyone say that?

I have the yoga teacher training bug…again. #consistentstudentship #lotuslove

Maybe, it’s just a deep desire for more consistent studentship. One day, I will take one of Kimberly Wilson’s e-courses.

NPR publishes a list of 100 swoon-worthy romances. And, NYPL publishes a list of the best New York books, in order of neighborhood.

It’s back-to-school season! And I’m going back as a third grade teacher. I found some great tips online for how to prepare over the summer.

GOOD magazine features Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) as the awesome yogi that fights to change the “typical” yoga body.

Happy back to school season! My stepmom recommended this article for chic n cheap ways to revamp the classroom (via BuzzFeed).

On the more intellectual side of B2S season, here’s a book review of The Prize by Dale Russakoff.

Here are 16 healthy + yummy snacks for running.

Glamour reveals 15 mind-blowing facts about Pixar’s Inside Out.

I. Am. Obsessed. With. This. Lady. #feelthebern (in the form of Symone Sanders!). Oh, and here’s the Brooklyn story behind this candidate.

Well & Good provides readers with 5 observations about fitness + body image from the wonderful Lena Dunham looking fierce in her running gear! On a different note from the same site, I am super pumped that the half-bun hair do is back in style!

The New Yorker has some gorgeous advice for young writers.

The Chalkboard provides 8 healthy living podcasts.

After the Columbia Teachers College lecture I went to last night, I am obsessed…simply obsessed with Dr. Christopher Emdin, a professor of the intersection of hip hop + science. Oh, and man’s got swag! #HipHopEd

My dear friend Katie co-started this blog on what it’s like to deal with chronic health conditions in her twenties, a time the general public associates with “perfect health” and being “at our prime,” or whatever that means. This blog is a beautiful retelling, and a space for identification.

Brene Brown is just simply awesome.

Just…read this NYT Modern Love column.

In “The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover,” the NYT reiterates a deeply true fact: it is better to invest in improving existing school systems than to make new ones.

Via an Opinionator article by David Borenstein, we need the heart and smarts to teach kids about their emotions!

A scene from Friends got deleted after 9/11, but you can watch it here.

I miss the Class of 2025 (OPB) so freaking much. Speaking of, you must, must, must watch this Graduation Rate slide show / animation featuring my beloved Bulldogs!

written from o cafe in the west village

What I’m Loving: TED Talks

Today, I’m doing something on the blog that I rarely do: I’m writing mostly in videos. TED Talks are surprisingly controversial. Many people at my university believed they weren’t “academic” or “critical” enough, that they presented too simplistic a view on specific niches of the world. My alma mater believed this so much (either that or it was out of their admiration of TED) that they made their own variation of talks that were video taped, lasted for a similar amount of time, and fell under a different label, having to do with “thinking big.” But I love TED talks for the exact reason why many people dislike them (I know, that’s an old trope – one person’s trash another’s treasure…). They make large concepts that can be highly intellectual or scientific even very down to earth. And that is awesome! So, below are my favorite TED talks that might perhaps show you how interdisciplinary of a pursuit it is to grow up on OM.

Mark Brackett: Educating the Whole Child (And Adult) With Emotional Literacy

As part of my new position, I get to learn directly from the research of Mark Brackett, a scholar on social-emotional learning, otherwise known as the missing link in education. This TED talk breaks down the vitality of SEL, and why teaching kindness and proper use of emotional capabilities is vital for success.

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

This is an oldie, but most definitely a goodie.

Molly Barker: The Seen and the Unseen

Reconnect to what it is like to be 10 again with this TED talk by the founder of the amazing organization Girls on the Run.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche: We Are All Feminists

After reading Americanah, I became obsessed with this phenomenal author. Recently, at a diversity committee meeting, I was asked why I identified as a feminist (we were doing a hokey self-identifier activity). My answer was, “Why wouldn’t I?” Granted, this wasn’t my most articulate answer, but this TED talk brings me back to the deep simplicity and rightness that question brings up.

Christopher Emdin: Teachers Create Magic

I saw this guy speak in person last night and my. mind. is. BLOWN. It just keeps getting better and better when it comes to my upcoming graduate career accompanied by all that’s available as a TED talk already.

written from o cafe in the west village

What I’m Loving: The In-Between Week

Two weeks ago, I moved back to NYC. Today, I’ll informally start my new job. My official start date is next Monday and next Tuesday, I’m scheduled to move into my new apartment. In the meantime, I’m basking in a lovely sort of limbo: staying at home, shopping for clothes I won’t be wearing until work starts, catching up with friends I haven’t seen in months…

A part of me wishes I started this column in Portland, where there was so much that I did – and still do – truly love. But I know that I’ll be back to visit Portland, with the idea that this will be a weekly column that will travel along with me.

So here’s the deal:

Each week, I will post 5 things I’m loving with a 3-sentence description of what it is and why I’m loving it (in case you couldn’t tell based on previous posts, brevity can be a challenge for me and concision is a skill I’d like to hone). This column is inspired by The College Prepster’s On My Radar and Gala Darling’s gratitude posts…but with my own spin. These “things” will be a wide variety of passions: places, books, podcasts, yoga studios, teachers, etc. to convey what it is that’s fueling my inspiration to keep growing on OM. Here goes…

This week, I’m loving

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Close friends have been recommending this book to me all summer long and I’m so grateful to finally be reading it. It is an extraordinarily well-written take on what it means to come to America from Nigeria, and discover what race means to a country fraught with its battles. The protagonist, Ifemelu, is also so genuine and likable that it’s made for the best subway read a girl could ask for, and one that keeps me thinking well after the 5 train arrives at my stop.

Laughing Lotus

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Baby, I’m back! When I arrived back in the city, I felt overwhelmed by the largeness of it all. Returning for class after class at Laughing Lotus, being hugged by my favorite teachers out there, getting lost in Lotus Flow sequencing, and running into people I’ve done trainings with over and over again has been one of the things that’s made me feel truly at hOMe.

Hu Chocolate

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Me, my mom, and my sister have gotten hooked on Hu chocolate. The three of us try to stay away from refined sugar and Hu, from a paleo eatery downtown (but they sell the bars at Fairway!) contains none of it; it’s sweetened with the wonderfully low-glycemic coconut sugar. The bar that we’re loving is their dark chocolate almond butter quinoa bar. Pro tip: eat a piece or two with a glass of red wine and bliss the eff out.

Elena Brower Summer School for Yoga Teachers

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A fellow teacher at HYS suggested this 3-day-long surge of inspiration to all yoga teacher colleagues and Facebook. These calls, which I listened to the recordings to via teach.yoga, were just the inspiration I needed to validate how much I love being a student, and how that dedication to studentship is what drives my desire to teach. Each call focused on different elements of what it means to be an independent-contracting (which most are) yoga teacher.

Poppin

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I am thrilled to be tasked with decorating a new office (which doubles as a supply room). I’ve been seeing Poppin office supplies pop up (pun intended) on some of my fave blogs and during my second back-to-school (this time as a teacher) trip to Staples, I snagged myself some gigantic post-it-like memo pads and adorable stylish pushpins. I still really want their gold pencil case…putting it, along with other items on the Pinterest wish list.

written from devachan hair salon, while wearing one of their fabulous gold robes

The Yoga + Coffee Guide to Portland

One of my most favorite pairings in the world is that of yoga + coffee. Caffeine takes on its ultimate effect after that natural buzz of a great yoga class. Portland – the home of Stumptown Roasters – is a city that is definitely known for its coffee culture. With the creation of YogiNation and the gentrification of all neighborhoods into yoga studio pods, Portland is also a haven + hub for the asana practice. One week away from transitioning out of Portland and back into New York City, I am starting to deem it time to finally publish the post that lingered in my mind eleven months ago, when I first moved here and started benefiting from incorporating my favorite pairing into my day to day. So, without further adieu, here is your yoga + coffee guide to this awesome city of roses. Oh, and this list is actually totally geographically based (a rarity for this directionally-challenged blogger), ranging from Southeast to Northwest Portland.

Yoga Union + Good Coffee

image via yelp

Yoga Union

  • Location: 50th + Lincoln
  • Vibe: Hard-Core (The fact that they have Paleo snacks upfront was of no surprise to me when I did my first new student special there last August.)
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chris Calarco + Annie Adamson
  • Asana Style: strength-building + muscle definition
  • Intention: Advancing the practice.

Good Coffee

  • Location: 48th + Division
  • Vibe: Uber Friendly + Young (A barista helps me carry a separate mini carafe of almond milk to my table.)
  • Style: Berlin-esque (The furniture is very un-American; think sloping leather chairs and geometric tables.)
  • Brew: extra strong
  • Intention: Kill ’em Keep them coming back with kindness.

People’s Yoga + Common Grounds

image via citysearch

People’s Yoga

  • Location: 44th + Belmont
  • Vibe: Dedicated + Full
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Jessica Garay + Audra Carmine
  • Asana Style: vinyasa with heart
  • Intention: Feel a sense of complete spiritual flow + fullness while practicing in a room filled to the brim with like-minded people.

Common Grounds

  • Location: 43rd + Hawthorne
  • Vibe: 80s Anonymous Hippie
  • Style: Living Room Cozy / Eclectic
  • Brew: cheap, but decent
  • Intention: Coffee and print media for the masses!

unfold + St. Honore

unfold

  • Location: 33rd + Division
  • Vibe: Slow + Steady
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Leigh Drake + Tony Roberts
  • Asana Style: yoga therapy
  • Intention: Unconditionally welcoming.

St. Honore

  • Location: 33rd + Division
  • Vibe: French Patisserie
  • Style: High-Quality European
  • Brew: strong (to be tempered with a delicate pastry)
  • Intention: Provide a large space for people to do with what they wish, be it mingle with one another, take their kids when they wake up too early on Saturday, have work meetings / first dates, or get work done.

Grinning Yogi + Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters

image via portlandfresh.com

The Grinning Yogi

  • Location: 30th + Division
  • Vibe: Fierce + Kickasana
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chase Connolly + Tori Greising
  • Asana Style: lotus flow
  • Intention: Provide a dance-like flow that allows students to lose themselves in movement + the themes it’s paired with.

Dapper & Wise

  • Location: 31st + Division
  • Vibe: Up-and-Coming Relaxed Freelancer
  • Style: get sh*t done + relax while doing it
  • Brew: strong + chocolatey
  • Intention: Provide high-quality straight-up coffee in this roasting company’s first cafe, in a neighborhood that lacks straight-up artisanal coffee.

Bhaktishop + Little T Bakers

image via chocolate hippos

Bhaktishop

  • Location: 26th + Division
  • Vibe: Ooey Gooey Devotional
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Lisa Mae Osborn + Monicka Koneski
  • Asana Style: lunar vinyasa
  • Intention: From their website – a “celebration of the gifts of this deep, dynamic and divine tradition that is yoga to a wider community through integrated, intelligent practices, grounded and authentic spiritual study, therapeutic principles and in general, a deeper way to go about living life.

Little T Bakers

  • Location: 26th + Division
  • Vibe: Yummy
  • Style: educated + filling
  • Brew: medium roast
  • Intention: Eat delicious food on your way to work in the morning!

Art of Movement + Ford Food + Drink

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Art of Movement

  • Location: 12th + Division
  • Vibe: Weird
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Nick Mattos
  • Asana Style: grungey Ashtanga with a twist
  • Intention: Provide something for every counter-culture yogi.

Ford Food + Drink

  • Location: 12th + Division
  • Vibe: Spacious Freelancers
  • Style: passing time + working grind
  • Brew: medium roast
  • Intention: Get stuff done in good + anonymous company.

Yoga Bhoga + Water Avenue Coffee

Yoga Bhoga

  • Location: Water Avenue
  • Vibe: Holistic
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Emily Light + Kris Olson
  • Asana Style: vinyasa meets physical therapy
  • Intention: Care for body + soul with intention and attention to anatomy.

Water Avenue Coffee

  • Location: Water Ave (same building as YogaBhoga)
  • Vibe: Quick Coffee
  • Style: read a good book
  • Brew: Water Avenue Coffee Roasters
  • Intention: Pass the time in a place that smells deliciously of coffee.

Yoga Pearl + Prasad

Yoga Pearl

  • Location: 9th + NW Davis
  • Vibe: Fancy
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chris Calarco + Sarah Lakey
  • Asana Style: power vinyasa
  • Intention: Get a holistic yoga experience with an intense amount of ambition on top!

Prasad

  • Location: inside Yoga Pearl
  • Vibe: up-scale hippie
  • Style: holistic yoga food + drink
  • Brew: unsure (they’re more known for their tea + smoothies, which I can attest to as being ah-mazing)
  • Intention: Do your own thang while having a bowl of sheer deliciousness or cookies made of agave + nut butters that will fuel your yoga practice.

YoYoYogi + Barista

image via endlesslyenraptured.com

 YoYoYogi

  • Location: 13th + NW Hoyt
  • Vibe: Sheer Awesomeness
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Alex + Kristi Cole (yes, they’re a father-daughter pair)
  • Asana Style: joyful flowing cathartic vinyasa flow (yes, I am being redundant on purpose – it’s just that good!)
  • Intention: Move so fast and with such flow that you forget what you’re feeling when you walk in the door and walk out with those feelings processed + feeling good!

Barista

  • Location: Same building as YoYoYogi (the smell of coffee wafts into those classes)
  • Vibe: a bar for coffee
  • Style: chill + efficient
  • Brew: strong
  • Intention: Get your work done or meet up with someone in their outdoor seating; equal measure take-to-go and stay and enjoy.

DIY Yoga Continuing Education Binder

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After that initial 200-hour yoga teacher training, the desire for more and deeper information drives many of us yoga teachers to pursue a wide variety of continuing education. From workshops to retreats to 300-hour trainings to 50-hour modules to lectures and professional development through the yoga studios we work at, the information comes at us from many different angles. Unlike a 200-hour where most of the information is likely contained in one singular manual, the continuing education information comes in many different packets, books and leaflets.

This is what I would love to make clear through this post: There is vitality in keeping all that information in one place. When I started taking 50-hour modules through Laughing Lotus, I also had trainings under my belt in yoga service (Street Yoga) and kid’s yoga (OmSchooled). Decorating the messy floor of my bedroom were handouts from guest teachers and notes taken in workshops. I made a decision one day my senior year of college, mid-way through doing that 300-hour comprised of 50-hour modules and the random classes I took along the way. I went to the campus bookstore, bought the widest-rimmed binder I own, and started three-hole-punching.

While this might seem like an office-y blog post, there was a metaphorical relief that came out of putting all that living, breathing information on what yoga is and what it can do for us and the philosophy behind it in once place. It integrated all this knowledge so that, rather than being disparate pieces of information, each one confined to its own lineage, it was part of one beautiful whole of the meaning of Yoga – Union, the yoking together of various ways of getting to the same point: Wholeness. When you make your own continuing ed binder, you actually have the opportunity to define and own what yoga means for you.

Here is a brief how-to:

  1. Buy a large binder.
  2. Start 3-hole-punching all manuals (go a Staples or OfficeMax if you have to to hole punch the larger ones).
  3. Insert these paper pieces of wisdom into the binder. Insert them either in chronological or categorical order (i.e. kid’s yoga info goes with kid’s yoga info, yoga service grouped together, etc.).
  4. If there are poems that have resonated with you as you’ve pursued your yoga teaching career + education, photocopy them and insert throughout.
  5. Decorate the cover with stickers from yoga studios, poetry, quotes, whatever makes your heart sing and return again and again to refer to what got you to where you are!
  6. Write your name on it! Own it! Because when it comes down to it, this amalgamation of texts is what gives you your own unique yoga teaching voice, through honoring the wide variety of places you’re coming from.

Yoga for Educators

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As you’ve likely heard (because let’s face it; if you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’ve been to a yoga class or two), the Sanskrit root of the word yoga – “yog” – means to yoke together, or to unite. Yet oftentimes, as someone who works at an elementary school by day as a part-time yoga teacher/glittered, bindi-wearing vinyasa practitioner by night, my professional identities can feel rather separate. This distance between the two aspects of where and how I spend my time makes it all the more exciting when I find ways for these two to yoke together.

My Yoga for Educators workshop and series is just that! When I spoke with Leigh, co-owner of Unfold, the yoga therapy studio I’ve been teaching at since I moved to Portland, we discussed what my “ideal client” might be. After I explained to her the joy I’ve experienced in teaching staff yoga at the school I serve at and teaching to AmeriCorps members through my AmeriCorps Yoga workshops, she informed me that it sounds like I love teaching to the “unsung heroes” in our society. I think she’s right.

So it is with same great joy I teach from and to that I bring you the announcement of the Yoga for Educators workshop and series at Unfold. In the workshop happening in two weeks, I will cover:

  • DIY Yoga: creating a sustainable home practice that works within those unique educator schedules
  • Yoga for the Classroom: using mindfulness, meditation and stretch breaks to cultivate more engaged teachers and learners, and
  • Breathwork: to balance our parasympathetic nervous systems in the path to being more present

The series will be a lot like the workshop – just WAY more in-depth. The Yoga for Educator series introduces the wide-reaching practices of yoga in ways that make sense for educators: society’s day-to-day warriors. This series is designed to empower educators with self-care tools for themselves and professional development tools on mindfulness in the classroom. In this series, participants will:

  • Reflect on the importance of the mind-body connection and parasympathetic nervous system
  • Create your own yoga practices for different times of the day and schedules
  • Learn different breathing exercises for both students and teachers; learn how to harness students’ attention through mindfulness and
  • Relax! And develop a whole toolkit for relaxation that can be practiced during the summer, and easily transferred over to the school year!

If you know of any educators in the Portland area, please let them know about this offering (I will also be blogging the highlights so stay tuned) and check out the below links:

Unfold Website (scroll down! sign up!)

Facebook Event for Workshop

Facebook Event for Series

Personal Website ShiraEngel.com

yoga for educators2015 (flyer)

written from dragonfly coffee house in portland, or