The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

Helping yoga teachers to stay connected to information, entrepreneur advice and a community of supportive yoga teachers and professionals.
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The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast






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Now displaying: June, 2017
Jun 24, 2017

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:

Get Creative With Your Yoga Poses

  1. Watch a yoga class as a witness (not as a yoga student).
  2. Gather and record the yoga cues you like.
  3. Record audio of your yoga cues. Play it back and experience the flow as a student.
  4. Apply your own cues to a muted yoga video. Play the audio back.
  5. Choose a small sequence to use verbal cues only for your next class.
  6. Use your own yoga practice to create your own cues.
  7. Learn about anatomy and physiology so you understand how the body moves.
  8. Question the cues you hear and use. Keep the ones that resonate with your evolving practice


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

Yoga Anytime Online Classes

Yoga Glo Online Classes

The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group

Set Up a Consultation Call with Shannon

Jun 17, 2017

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

Links and Resources

Julia's Website: Satori Yoga

E-book gift: Pain Care Workbook by Julia Khavizof

Matthew Remski's Website

Book: Painful Yarns: Metaphors and Stories to Help Understand the Biology of Pain by Lorimer Mosely

Youtube Video: Ted Talk- Why Things Hurt

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

"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

The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group

Jun 10, 2017

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.

1. Home

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:

  • WHO YOU ARE- quick intro, more on the About Me page
  • WHAT YOU OFFER- be specific about your specialty within yoga
  • WHO YOU ARE SERVING- who is your ideal student?

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.

2. Contact

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.

3. Yoga Services Offered

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.

  • Where is your event, retreat or yoga class being held?
  • When is it? Include the weekday, date, month, year and time
  • Who is hosting the event? It is nice to share a short bio and photo of the facilitator(s)
  • What is it that you are advertising? This title should be large and at the top
  • Why should people attend? Have a list or paragraph that confirms the reasons that someone would benefit from attending your event/class/workshop/retreat
  • How people can register or contact you
  • Prices are great to have clearly stated

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.)

4. About Page

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:

  • First or third person
  • When sharing your story keep in mind you want it to tie into your yoga services
  • Who are you serving? Define your ideal yoga student.
  • What makes you the teacher your ideal students would want?
  • What are the problems that you can help solve with your classes, workshops and retreats?

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.

5. Resources Page: A Blog or Articles

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


Shannon's Favourite Website Tools

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

Jun 3, 2017

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.


Today's Podcast

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

TCYT Live Show