Today Shannon shares with you a consultation call with one of her clients, Brittany Alred. Brittany is a yoga teacher who is brand new to teaching. Brittany’s question for Shannon is regarding cueing. She knows she would like to move forward from demonstrating to using verbal cues to guide her students but is unsure of where to start.
Brittany lives in northern Alabama and has a couple of yoga classes under her belt. She began taking yoga classes in Colorado when a work colleague asked her to accompany her to a class. As a skier Brittany found yoga incredibly helpful to help protect her knees and mental well being and it has been a big part of her life since.
5:10 Brittany’s question: What is the best way to cue my students? Do I need to demonstrate the poses for the class?
8:05 Benefits of verbal cueing
8:50 Record yourself doing cues and then take your own class
9:10 Write cues as you watch a yoga video on mute and be a student for your own class
10:00 Students don’t expect perfect cueing, “mistakes” can provide moments of levity
10:35 Start with a pose you feel confident cueing, have students lying on their back and observe if your cueing is effective
11:20 Cueing and assisting the elderly
13:40 Know that most students may not share where they are sore but most have something going on physically and/or emotionally
14:10 It is not your job to “fix” anything, empower your clients to take charge of their health and make a reference list for physiotherapists or other health care providers
15:15 Props are helpful
16:00 Finding your unique cueing voice
17:10 Using your personal yoga practice to develop your cues -how does the pose feel for you? -what images come to mind?
18:10 Should poetic language be used?
19:10 Thoughts on cueing from Trevor Parks, a fellow yoga teacher and member of TCYT
20:10 Benefits of watching online classes to develop your cues, learn new poses
21:00 Preventing yoga burnout- immerse yourself in your personal yoga practice, remember why you started teaching yoga
23:50 Keep reaching out for support from other teachers, groups, and your students
24:45 Using consent cards for assists
26:10 Brittany’s goals moving forward
28:00 Shannon summarizes key points:
Words of wisdom regarding cueing from fellow The Connected Yoga Teacher group member, Trevor Parks:
“I think a good teacher speaks a bit poetic with great elegance. One of my friends was an Anasura teacher (they seem to have speech down, so I'll relay what he was taught) In his teacher training, they made a "word bank" of words that were elevating and uplifting, but still unique to them. They, would then, weave those words into verbal cues, and come up with alignment cues that didn't use anatomy jargon. He also said explain everything in the least amount of words possible, and never give a cue over eight words.
But, those are just suggestions, it also depends on your theme, style, lineage, pace, etc. Just know finding your voice takes time and be patient! "Do your practice, all is coming!" Congratulations on your first class!”
Book: Art of Attention: A Yoga Practice Workbook for Movement as Meditation
by Elena Brower
Podcast: The Connected Yoga Teacher Episode 015: Molly Kitchen Consent Cards
The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group
In episode 17, Shannon welcomes Julia Khafizov who shares her perspective as a yoga teacher on chronic pain and its fascinating link to the nervous system.
Julia immersed herself in yoga 15 years ago when her chronic back pain led her on a search for relief. She further injured her hamstrings while taking her yoga teacher training and subsequently worked with physiotherapists for 2 years, noticing that her injuries were not repairing well. Luckily, Julia found a physiotherapist that she describes as having a “global approach” that takes into consideration the effect the nervous system has on pain production.
Symptoms such as insomnia, bouts of anxiety, and digestive issues were all indications that Julia needed to incorporate nervous system training in addition to her structural training when it came to pain management.
Julia currently lives in Grand Prairie, Alberta where she teaches private and group pain care classes that incorporate other facets of yoga such as meditation and Yin.
2:15 Julia’s background
4:40 Julia’s introduction to yoga and how she began specializing in pain care
8:00 Nervous system training
9:45 Neuroscience education and its ability to relieve chronic pain
10:55 Neil Pearson’s concept of intellectual engagement along with movement in the treatment of chronic pain
12:45 The measurable changes in neurochemistry when an educational component is introduced
13:45 Matthew Ramski’s contribution to the discussion of pain by asking where our concept of modern yoga originates, how we teach, how we cue, etc.
15:40 How asking students to move deeper into a pose can be problematic
18:30 Questions to ask prospective students with chronic pain, red flags, and being open to the possibility your class may not be suitable
20:00 Julia’s group and private pain care classes and advice on helping someone with chronic pain in a yoga setting
23:00 Importance of using techniques to calm the nervous system which include mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork
23:55 “Are you Highly Sensitive?” test by Elaine N. Aron is helpful in determining the degree of sensitivity of your client and the importance of being aware of the “loop of chronic pain” in relation to sensitivity
25:55 Complex techniques to de-regulate the nervous system
27:45 Are the techniques effective if your client can’t lie down?
28:45 Julia’s suggestions for pain care teacher training
30:25 General messages to relay to your class when focused on pain care
32:00 Asking students if they feel safe rather than if something hurts, understanding the mind/body disconnect with students who experience chronic pain
35:45 The importance of emotional safety, that there is a connection between bodily pain and emotional pain and trauma
37:00 Julia’s go-to technique for calming the nervous system and pain relief
37:10 Advice to yoga teachers: “Pain is our friend”
43:00 Shannon's summary and takeaways from the interview including additional techniques when working with students with chronic pain
E-book gift: Pain Care Workbook by Julia Khavizof
Book: Painful Yarns: Metaphors and Stories to Help Understand the Biology of Pain by Lorimer Mosely
Youtube Video: Ted Talk- Why Things Hurt
"Are You Highly Sensitive?" test by Elaine N. Aron
Pain Management Training:
Bo Forbes: Yoga, Mindfulness, Neuroscience, the Body and Contemplative Practice Course
Neil Pearson's Pain Care Workshops
Matthew Ramsky's Online Course: What are we Actually Doing in Asana?
Podcast: Episode 003 TCYT: Trauma Training for Everyone With Margaret Howard
On today’s episode Shannon shares her experience with creating a yoga teacher website and the 5 pages that she has found important to include so that content is clear and concise.
No matter where you are in the process of building a website, including these five pages will help you design or refresh your online content.
Your home page is what website visitors usually see first. People are busy and they don’t stay long on a website page. The key elements of this page may include:
Action step: Look for websites you’ve been drawn to. You can use elements that appeal including colours, font. Don’t worry about copying the template of it because once you add your own photos and copy it will become your own and it will be unique.
This is a great place to start if you’re feeling stuck on where to begin. Include your phone number, email, and social media links.
List your classes, programs, sessions, retreats and workshops in this section with descriptions. Consider embedding a calendar such as Google calendar. It is a good idea to use a separate calendar for private bookings.
Don’t forget to include all the information you would put on a poster.
Action step: Map out your schedule, create your class descriptions and try to be specific so students know what to expect (is it beginner friendly, for example.)
Focus on who you want to serve always keeping in mind this is your opportunity to talk to your students directly.
Here is where you can go more into detail about your own personal story as it relates to your business (Shannon has an upcoming episode on this topic)
Things to consider:
Action Step: Define what you believe would be the obstacles and challenges your ideal student might face and how you can help.
Bonus for Today's Episode: Click here to receive the free mini-course on how to update or create an amazing about page.
If you enjoy writing consider including a blog or articles page. Having additional content will help Google search and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ensure your page shows up in more searches.
When you write great articles it gives prospective or current students an opportunity to get to know you and it helps potential clients to get a better sense of your message.
In Shannon’s experience a blog feels like more of a journal and an article allows you to research and compile information that interests you and relates back to what you teach.
Ask yourself if you’re writing articles that reflects your niche.
Action Item: If you don’t know where to start with article writing start with journaling to clarify your thoughts, discover your writing style and area of interest.
Build up a bank of articles aiming to write them once-a-week. It is helpful to block out a time on your calendar to help set aside the time. If after 6-8 weeks of publishing your content you will have a sense of whether sharing this resource works for you and how often you want to publish.
Consistency is key
Content Management System - Wordpress
Theme - Divi theme - Elegant themes
Host - FatCow (thoughts of switching to Blue Host or Canadian company Rebel)
Peek User Testing -- tool for website review
Shannon knew she wanted to have yoga teacher Molly Kitchen on her podcast after connecting with her about her well designed and helpful consent cards. On today’s episode, Molly shares with us her thoughts on hands-on assists, her experience with consent cards, and their connection to trauma sensitivity.
Molly Kitchen lives in western Massachusetts and has been teaching yoga since 2009, receiving her 500-hour certification in 2016. She describes her teaching style beautifully: “Molly's yoga teaching is infused with clarity, humor, and heart. Her classes combine physical rigor with attention to detail, balanced by humor, mythic stories, and a discerning spiritual philosophy. Using precise alignment instruction and inspiring philosophy, she creates an environment that invites her students to connect with the wisdom of their hearts.”
Molly is also the founder and director of Adhikara Yoga School which incorporates social justice values in its teachings. The school also focuses on a trauma-informed approach to teaching which acknowledges that there will always be at least one student in any style of class that has experienced complex trauma and credits her 40-hour Trauma Center Yoga Training with David Emerson & Jenn Turner, PhD, with guiding her in this awareness that she passes on to her students.
Molly’s passion for teaching yoga does allow her some time to play outside with her husband and nurture her interest in herbal medicine.
7:15 Molly talks about what has been keeping her busy
9:20 What inspired Molly to begin using Consent Cards
11:00 What differences Molly noticed after the Consent Cards were introduced
12:55 Building trust: how students are responding to Consent Cards
14:05 Explaining the Consent Cards to students
15:15 On using the word “assists” instead of "adjustments"
16:20 Does Molly always use hands-on assists?
17:45 In which classes are hands-on assists often used?
18:35 Does Molly ever run out of time to use Consent Cards?
20:20 When you might not want to do hands-on assists
21:05 Molly’s favourite assists to receive
22:00 Which pose does Molly most assists students with?
22:55 Production of Consent Cards
25:10 Molly’s path to reconnecting with her personal yoga practice
28:10 Making “free time” to scheduling in your practice and training
30:00 Shannon’s thoughts on assists and consent cards
Consent Cards designed by Molly
Molly Kitchen's Website
Adhikara Yoga School - Train with Molly
TCYT Episode 003: Trauma Training for Every Yoga Teacher with Margaret Howard
TCYT Episode 004: Assisting Students Without Touch with Shannon Crow