Power Up Your Teaching with Clear Intention

There are many ways to prepare, or not to prepare, for teaching your yoga class.  Some teachers have very detailed plans, pose by pose, prop by prop, of what they intend to teach.  Others choose to be guided by the students that show up and by what feels right in the moment.  To each her own and ultimately you do what works best and most effectively for you.  But as a teacher, how often do you examine your intention before walking into class, or your overall intention for teaching yoga in the first place?

This, I have come to believe, is the most important preparation of all.  Wouldn’t you rather be a force of authenticity, rather than simply a voice in the room?

I think most of us buy into the notion that “thoughts become things,” that there is immense power behind your thoughts and words.  Many teachers suggest to their students at the beginning of class to set an intention for their practice.  But other than leading students toward a peak pose, what is your true intention for being there? What is your purpose and what are you trying to achieve by bringing yoga into peoples’ lives?  Who do you aim to serve?

Breaking off on my own to cultivate a thriving practice in a private studio space has brought all of these questions to the forefront.  There are no trends to follow, owners to please, quotas to meet, etc.  It’s all on me to decide which direction I’m going and what I want to bring to my students.  I thought I was clear about that before, yet being in this new space has offered the opportunity to re-examine and evolve my teaching intention.  Part of that involves observing the impact I’m having, and whom I’m serving most effectively.

Though I knew very quickly after my first teacher training that yoga therapy was the avenue I wanted to pursue, I took my time finding my next path of training, which led me to my current teacher and mentor, Dr. Linda Lack.  Through her guidance and the study of her technique The Thinking Body-The Feeling Mind®, I have re-experienced the immense power of yoga to heal, transform, and elevate, and that is what I want to bring to the table every time I am in front of a class.

When I started running my business out of Mind In Body, in an attempt to have wider appeal, I shied away from being too specific about the therapeutic nature of what I was offering.  However, that only created ambiguity in my class schedule, and for me as a teacher.  What I realized quickly though was that the students coming the most consistently were those needing and experiencing the very real benefits of gentle therapeutic yoga.  So now, I have once again embraced that as the core of what I do, with more clarity and certainty than before.  Therefore, I am accessing what I am most skilled at offering and what motivates my teaching the most profoundly, while having the greatest possible impact on the community that walks through my door.  Having this clarity gives me the confidence to move forward with my message of gentle yoga as a path of healing, and I know that my small personal studio space is perfect for offering that kind of experience.

Like with everything in life, as your skill level and interests as a teacher grow, your intentions are ever-changing and evolving.  The important thing is to keep checking in, and be sure that when you step in front of that class, what you’re offering to your students has clarity, knowledge and authenticity behind it so that it reflects your greatest abilities and serves their highest interests.

Namaste,

Sasha

Open for discussion: What is your teaching intention? How does having a clear intention impact your teaching?  Share your voice by commenting below.

Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

4 thoughts on “Power Up Your Teaching with Clear Intention

  1. I haven’t really explored setting intentions. I’m trained with YogaFit and they don’t really stress the idea; however, I’ve taken many classes by instructors who do set them. I like the idea/practice of them. What are some of the ones you have set?

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    1. Thanks for your question! For me it really depends if I’m taking class or teaching class. Lately, my intention while practicing is to be fully present in my body, to let go of the mental chatter and use my class time to focus within. As a teacher, again my intention is to be fully present with my students, to give them what they need to feel good and healthy in their bodies. Then I get more specific about the focus of the class: strengthen and open outer hips, release neck and shoulder tension, strengthen core, etc. I hope that helps to clarify!

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  2. Sasha,

    Thanks so much for writing such a beautiful post. I find it so interesting that the process of running your own business has really helped you look inside of yourself and figure out a lot of things that otherwise may have been overlooked. It seems to be helping with your personal growth, which I can relate to because my business has done the same for me 🙂

    Also, you have inspired me to stop and think about what my intention is for what I do and the way I impact my customers.

    My favourite paragraph was definitely the last. “Like with everything in life, as your skill level and interests as a teacher grow, your intentions are ever-changing and evolving.” Love that, so true.

    BIG HUGS!
    xoxo

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    1. Dear Alex,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. More and more I see how my own personal growth affects my business positively, and how moving my business forward with authenticity and integrity helps me to grow personally. It’s a beautiful feedback loop, and I feel very blessed to have my life structured this way. It all comes back to doing what you love, and not needing to compartmentalize your life between “work” and “life” but rather to be doing your life’s work. I know you understand.

      You inspire me weekly with your chatty Tuesday videos, so I am thrilled you were able to take some inspiration from me as well.

      With Love,
      Sash.

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