053: Yoga Mentors and Lineage with Chase Bossart
On today’s episode, Shannon invites Chase Bossart who with great warmth and humour shares with us some of his experiences with his mentor T.K.V. Desikachar. Chase discusses the hallmark of Desikachar’s teachings that he’s very much taken to heart, the importance of mentorship and the sometimes necessary end of this relationship.
Chase was introduced to yoga in 1991 when he took a semester abroad in India as a philosophy major. He was interested in learning more about Eastern philosophy and took a class in yoga theory. This is where he met his mentor T.K.V. Desikachar, one of the class’ regular instructors and become immersed in yoga and Desikachar’s teachings.
Chase has spent over 4 years in India and several years in China (becoming fluent in Mandarin). Expanding on his knowledge of Eastern philosophy, Chase earned a Masters degree in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Indian Philosophy in 1996.
Now living North of San Francisco, Chase has travelled frequently to give workshops and training on a wide array of yoga and yoga therapy topics since 2003. Chase teaches courses and workshops in person and provides an online meditation session and online study session of Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita once a week. He is also passionate about pranayama, meditation, chanting and the therapeutic application of yoga therapy. He loves to lead experiential workshops that demonstrate yoga philosophy’s practical applications in daily life.
5:25 Studying with his mentor T.K.V Desikachar in India
8:35 Hallmark of Desikachar’s teachings is individualized, one-on-one sessions where you participate in your own healing
10:05 The feeling Chase has when teaching to online students and in-person students
12:00 Online Thursday night study of Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita with Chase- study of Sanskrit and most importantly how does that apply to one’s life by pausing, responding and sharing with each other
13:10 Incorporating Sanskrit and yoga philosophy in our practice and the importance of finding context for why we do the techniques we do, recognizing that yoga is an intentionally engineered practice with the science behind understanding how the human system functions
18:00 Chase’s appreciation for Desikachar’s ability to break teachings down and applying them in a practical sense to everyday life
19:05 Importance of taking time to take teachings in- not rushing through training and philosophical texts so a sustainable transformation is possible
20:20 Differentiating between yoga as information and yoga as being (understanding why your life is unfolding as it is, seeing yoga play out in your life, allowing for feedback and study with a mentor)
22:10 The benefit of having a mentor- difficult to digest studies without a reliable outside reference, help you stay on your path, cue you to reflect and the importance of having an established relationship with someone you have faith in and trust
25:20 Chase details some of the more difficult experiences as Desikachar’s mentee and how moving through them helped him establish different patterns and the refinement of his person and behaviour
32:30 Chase’s belief that teachings should be the main focus- not so much the lineage and T.K.V. Desikachar’s hesitancy to give a name to his yoga teachings (named Viniyoga for a period of time) when he very much believed that yoga should flow through someone in an individualized way
36:10 The problem with lineage and putting yoga into groups- divisiveness, can overemphasize form over function
37:45 Desikachar’s taught the importance of relinquishing rather than looking at the effort and asanas
39:20 An example of relinquishing- being attached to how things are such as groups you are in, your home, your job and seeing that as primary importance
42:55 When and why a mentorship relationship may end
47:55 The importance of honesty and communication in mentor-mentee bond and when there may be a shift in the relationship
51:00 What mentorship should provide such as understanding how the mentee’s process works and helping to hold space for that process
53:35 Yoga Wells Institute Therapeutic Yoga Trainings
53:20 Importance of teachers undergoing process themselves, doing their own practice with an open, malleable fashion
57:00 Upcoming Yoga Therapy Teacher Certification Course with Chase in Nashville, Tennessee
58:55 Chase’s work with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and its importance in legitimizing the practice via accreditation and guidelines
1:02:19 Chase shares what his own practice looks like while gently reminding teachers to find their own way
1:04:20 If you struggle with your own practice- “When you need it the most it’s harder to do.”
1:08:40 Shannon’s closing thoughts and key takeaways
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org- send an email to set up a 30-minute interview process to help find you a mentor
Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity
052: Create Your Online Course with Janelle Allen of Zen Courses
Have you ever thought of turning your expertise into an online course? It can be a great source of income that comes with the satisfaction of inspiring others with content you feel passionate about.
Shannon welcomes Janelle Allen, the founder of Zen Courses to help you get started. Janelle shares her knowledge with us covering how to pick a topic, organize and market a course, the different styles of courses, and much more.
Armed with her Masters of Science degree in Instructional Technology, Janelle has spent nearly ten years creating courses for a variety of clients, including colleges, universities, corporations and small businesses. Realizing that she wanted to work in a more personal way with others she founded Zen Courses. Through her business, Janelle offers services that include one-on-one consultations and courses.
Janelle has a free online email list course just for our Connected Yoga Teacher listeners.
6:20 How Janelle got interested in online learning and went from working for a six-figure company to working for herself
10:10 Janelle’s experience with yoga
11:20 How to get started creating an online course: 1) target learner 2) what problems do they have 3) what solutions do you have
15:35 How do yoga teachers pick from possible course topics? How to determine if people will pay for your course.
17:35 How to organize the course? “The one thing” what should people be able to do after completing the course, using “backwards design”
21:45 “Simpler is better” - resisting temptation to put too much content in your course
20:35 Tools Janelle uses to create her courses- outline, content cues, mind maps
23:40 The difference between a live course, self-paced course or blended course (part live and part self-paced)
26:30 Open cart or close cart launches- whether a course is available for a limited time
27:15 How choose between creating live course, self-paced or blended course- often depends on complexity of your courses
28:40 Thinking about your learners- there will be times when parts of the course will be harder, students may stumble and it will be important to be available to your students during these times through video chat, Facebook groups, provide an extra week to do their work, etc.
32:10 Making your course actionable: activities and assignments in your course, develop a community in your course (on social media like a FB group)
34:05 How to get students for your courses 1) market to existing audience through email including survey questions, building a case for the course and how to sign up for your course 2) partner with people that have an audience through a joint webinars
39:30 When you are worried about being “salesy” and how Janelle worked through that and the fear of rejection
41:30 How to reach Janelle if you want to work with her
43:40 What advice would Janelle give to those starting out
46:40 Shannon’s closing thoughts
Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity
Carol Horton, PhD is a writer, educator and activist. She works at the intersection of mindful yoga, social science, and social justice. Carol serves as Vice President of the Yoga Service Council and was a co-founder of Chicago’s Socially Engaged Yoga Network. In her desire to make yoga accessible to all she has taught yoga in underprivileged areas such as Chicago’s Cook County Jail, a drop-in centre for homeless women, a residential foster care facility, and a community health centre.
Shannon asked Carol Horton to be a guest on The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast after reading Carol’s thoughtful blog post called Yoga: Beyond the BS. Carol discusses the negativity surrounding yoga, especially in social media. She brings up the shadow side of yoga, such as the commercialization and commodification of yoga, with the intention of being critical in a balanced fashion. It is her wish that yoga teachers employ honesty and discernment as they navigate the yoga world.
From Carol’s first yoga class in a church basement to her profound healing and spiritual experiences while practising, it is clear yoga has meant a lot to her. Carol doesn’t believe that yoga culture needs to be taken down with critique but rather respectful discussions in conjunction with work so there is power behind the discourse. Carol believes in supporting and nurturing the good and calling out the bad so we don’t lose the teachers that can make profound changes in the lives of others.
2:20 Shannon’s thoughts on the negativity in the yoga world and connecting with Carol Horton’s blog post Yoga: Beyond the BS
7:25 How Carol got started in yoga and how it evolved into her current work
11:55 Difficult childbirth was a profound experience in Carol’s life that shifted her perspective on yoga and saw the importance of trauma-informed yoga
15:00 Lying in savasana and slipping into a “spark of consciousness”
19:30 What led Carol to write the blog post Yoga: Beyond the BS
26:10 Problematic aspects of online discussions, social media as a culturally powerful medium and online bullies
30:25 When Carol thought about walking away from yoga and why she didn’t
35:00 The positive and negative response to Carol’s blog post
38:50 Is there a place yoga teachers can go to for fruitful discussions?
41:30 Carol’s editing work for the book: “Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System”
43:40 Carol’s desire to see healthcare (including yoga) accessible to all; working with those in homeless shelters, foster homes, prisons and more to help those who’ve experienced trauma to heal
52:10 How to contact Carol
53:50 Shannon’s final thoughts
Blog Post: Yoga: Beyond the BS
Book: Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System Editor: Carol Horton PhD
Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity
050: Grow Your Yoga Base [Part 2] with Shannon Crow
Welcome to episode 50!
We are so happy that we’ve been able to keep growing and connecting with so many yoga teachers to discuss a wide variety of topics relevant to the yoga teacher career path.
The Connected Yoga Teacher podcast and Facebook group has been brought to life by all of your support for one another, your humour and spirited discussions.
Thank you for all for your participation and feedback as it has provided much inspiration and momentum. You have helped to this little seed of an idea planted by Shannon Crow, who envisioned a supportive place for yoga teachers to raise each other up.
Thanks also to Rob, Laura and Samantha of The Connected Yoga Teacher team for so much of the work that goes into getting every episode to you.
As a gift to you, our listeners, a 50 episode summary has been compiled. It’s filled with key takeaways and actionable step for each episode. Keep an eye out for it in your inbox and if you are not subscribed to The Connected Yoga Teacher newsletter click here to sign up.
In Part 2 of Grow Your Yoga Student Base, Shannon continues to share steps to help you attract more yoga students. No need to tackle them all at once, simply do one thing and when you hit a comfort zone move on to another action item. Areas explored include connecting with students in and out of class, offering gifts and discounts and being authentic; because as Shannon says, you’ve got this! You have everything within yourself to attract the students who will benefit from your unique services.
12:30 Recap of Part 1 of Grow Your Yoga Base
14:20 7) Connect with students a) In class
17:25 ACTION ITEM: If possible place yourself at the exit and the entrance to greet and say goodbye
18:20 7) Connect with students b) Outside of class
23:20 ACTION ITEM: Get a list of your students and their contact information- their phone number, email and maybe even a mailing address
24:35 8) Posters and Business Cards
Keep posters with you and ready to pass out or put up. It’s handy to have a poster travel kit with you that includes a variety of ways to hang your posters such as tape and tacks.
Consider getting business cards to hand out or other creative way to pass on your information such as brochures and bookmarks.
ACTION ITEM: Create a poster or business card to have ready to pass out or hang up.
28:25 9) Get to know people’s preferences/check in
When you have a smaller class it’s a great opportunity to take the time to check in asking them what poses they enjoy and what parts of their bodies need some extra attention. You can incorporate the poses into your future classes each week.
ACTION ITEM: Choose 1 check in method and try it out in your next class
30:55 10) Offer the same thing every week. Offer something different every week.
It sounds contradictory but including the same poses can help students feel comfortable and internalize the poses and learn about these poses in relation to their bodies.
The opposite has its own benefit- adding a new thing will keep the students feeling challenged and increase their knowledge base.
“The opposite of a great truth is also true” –Gretchen Rubin
32:25 ACTION ITEM: If you generally do the same thing, add something new or tweak a commonly used pose. If you often vary your classes quite a bit try the same flow each week in a session.
33:10 11) Gifts, treats, offers and discounts
Some examples of gifts and treats: quote on a paper, a yummy treat (could be healthy or semi-healthy like organic chocolate or ginger chews, maybe even something homemade), pose cards, candles, something that works with the holidays such as an ornament a Christmas or chocolate on Valentine’s Day.
Some examples of offers and discounts: bring a friend for free, 5-class pass donation for a charity auction, punch card (with 10 stamps students earning them a free class), partnering with a local business or event (such as a free smoothie at a local eatery when you take a class).
34:30 ACTION ITEM: Bring a treat to your next class which may work with your theme.
34:35 12) Assists
While some people love touch while others feel uncomfortable. If you or your students aren’t comfortable with touch, there are other ways to assist. Savasana can be a great place to start. A couple of ways to ensure your student is comfortable with touch is by using consent cards or by classes that include assists as a main focus.
The Connected Yoga Teacher podcast episodes to check out on this topic:
36:00 ACTION ITEM: Learn one assist and practice it on another yoga teacher, your partner, friend or family member.
36:35 13) Strengthen your own yoga practice
Be the student. Attend other class to gain inspiration and nurture your own yoga practice. Attending workshops and trainings so you can continue to learn and grow as a yoga teacher.
TCYT podcast episodes to check out on this topic:
ACTION ITEM: Set a time and place to practice yoga.
41:00 14) Be authentic
Teaching what you know and be who you are. Don’t try to be like another teacher. You are unique and no one else can share yoga like you can.
ACTION ITEM: Pick 5-10 yoga poses to strengthen your cues and unique voice. You can record yourself on your phone or jot down some notes to help you determine whether your using cues that make sense to you and your own personal experience in yoga.
42:25 15) Use a theme
There are so many ideas out there for themes and the sky’s the limit! You can subscribe to the Yoga Teacher Central newsletters as it has relevant theme ideas each week. A few examples are: anatomy focus, 8-limbs, chakras, elements, summer solstice, full moon.
ACTION ITEM: Look at your calendar and see what’s coming up for you, sit in meditation or draw a card and see what pops up for you- it might be one word or setting an intention
43:40 16) Create an amazing class
You’ve got this, you’re already an amazing teacher! When you speak in your authentic voice and you define your yoga niche and plan something new or fun along with the consistent yoga offerings you are doing fine. Trust that the right students are coming to you at the right time.
ACTION ITEM: You are right on track and are now armed with 15 things to help you keep going. And for the days when it isn't feeling like the best class. Learn from it. Move forward with a deep breath. We have all been there and we have your back.
The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Page "What if I am getting bored with teaching?" thread- thanks to Shannon Elise sharing your authentic self with us
Canva- to make your own graphics
Here is an editable poster template Shannon made using Canva. Please make sure to make a copy before you edit it, so the original is there for others :)
Fiverr- to help you find a graphic designer to work for you
Relevant to 12) Offer Assists:
Relevant to 13) Strengthen your own yoga practice:
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