As a teacher, I am always sleuthing around for inspiring thoughts, impressions or concepts to share during class. It makes teaching interesting and exciting for me and hopefully for my students as well. I’m very attracted to offering something that makes the practice more relevant to people’s everyday lives. Now, I don’t think this requires going to the library and doing arduous research. I do think it requires a keen sense of listening and wide eyed awareness as I go about my day doing my usual, normal things. Here are some very reliable sources of inspiration that I think we all have easy access to:
1) my animals, who teach me many important lessons repeatedly: presence, acceptance, and simplicity to name a few. If you have kids, I bet they are great teachers, too.
2) stepping outside. Mother nature reminds us that we are a part of nature, to breathe, to pause, to connect. We experience earth, water, wind, fire of the sun, and fresh air outside, and we can source these elements into our practice.
3) news stories. I should be transparent here in that my main source of news comes from listening to NPR. Many of the stories spark insights for me that seem entirely relevant to my yoga practice. I think this works because we are all human, and while our lives and situations differ, we still share a commonality that touches each of us on the same emotional level.
4) quotes. There are many websites and books full of powerful, provocative and contemplative quotes. If it captures my attention so that I ponder it, reread and repeat it, I know I can and should teach to it.
5) conversations with others. I love to use an anonymous snippet from my friends’ conversations about their lives as inspiration. Regardless of the topic or situation, the sharing in class is third party, it has little emotional charge, and I can emphasize the gem or take-away from whatever the topic is that I am discussing, as opposed to making it personal.
6) my faults. Surprisingly, this is a great source of inspiration, and very relevant, because who isn’t human? I’m not saying that having a pity party in front of your class is a good idea. Nope, definitely not. But sharing what 90% of people have experienced at one time or another, i.e.. procrastinating on doing laundry, or eating too many brownies, can be effectively relatable.
7) books or articles. If someone was passionate and focused enough to share their ideas by writing a book or article, and I later read it and found it fascinating, I feel compelled to share that forward. The subject matter doesn’t need to be limited to yoga for this to work; baking, solar power, bike riding, and anything else could work just as well.