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3 Ways You Can Use Journaling to Become a Better Yoga Teacher

Lara Falberg
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Writing, and journaling in particular, is an opportunity for many people to express themselves and explore their creativity. Journaling is a potent form of written self-expression that can also help you become a better yoga teacher. Journaling is a tool to learn more about who you are as a person and what you’re passionate about. Becoming more self-aware will in turn create a more confident and capable yoga teacher.
 
Journaling is a ‘safe place’ to fully express ourselves and be free in what we think and say, so we’re able to discover our authentic voice. There are many ways that writing and journaling can inspire our creative teaching juices. It propels us to find new vocabulary and a steady journaling practice shows us new ways to cue poses and guide our yoga students.
 

Discover and embrace your authentic voice

What the hell is an “authentic voice?” See – there’s mine – I’m a cusser. I sincerely enjoy and unwind when I drop a good F-bomb. I’ve discovered when I allow myself to be authentic when I teach, it offers the class a chance to relax and not take yoga so damn seriously. So to stay true to who I am, I may throw in a curse word or two in class.
 

Fully embrace who you are – don’t change yourself to become what you think a yoga teacher should be.

 
Your authentic voice is not the way you speak, but the intention behind your words. Are your words your own? Or are you speaking the way you think you “should” speak, or are you mirroring someone else? Fully embrace who you are – don’t change yourself to become what you think a yoga teacher should be. When you offer your authentic self, you will attract yoga students who will benefit from your unique teaching style.
 
Check out Stop Wearing Your Mask and Start Offering Your Authentic Voice to help discover your true self.
 

How writing can you help embrace who you are

Journaling in particular allows a freedom of expression by removing the need to censor yourself or consider your audience. Your words are written for you and you alone. They are your doorway to better understand what is important to you, what you want and how to live a more meaningful life. And from this place of authenticity, you can discover your true voice.
 
Whether you’re ready to dive in or already journaling but want a refresher, check out Why You Need A Mindful Journaling Practice & Tips to Get You Started.
 

Here are 3 writing exercises to help you find your authentic voice and become a better yoga teacher:

 

1. Journal every day for a week without censorship or editing

This first step is lots of fun. Grab a journal, find your favorite pen, and get to it! Don’t give yourself a lot of guidelines and parameters – just go for it. Write what you’re feeling, don’t worry about making it perfect, and see where it takes you.
 
How journaling will help you become a better yoga teacher:
By not holding anything back, you will see what really matters in your life to help you find your true voice as a yoga teacher. Plus, your creativity will have a chance to develop into a full-grown adult.
 
Try it – here’s how:

  • Just write. You can always throw these words away and no one will ever see them, so go for it!
  • Don’t re-read your work until the full week is up
  • After a week, read over your thoughts and see what resonates with you
  • Take note of what you think is unique to you: interesting vocabulary, stories, and things that repeat within your writing
  • For example, if you love your dog Kevin and notice you wrote 25 pages about him and his quirks, take note. You might need to bring your life with Kev into your yoga classes via themes, cueing, and even sequencing

 

 
 

2. Make a yoga class vocabulary list

As yoga teachers we all know the importance of maintaining our personal yoga practice. Not only does our personal practice keep us grounded, it also helps keep our teaching fresh and inspired. The same applies to our cues and teaching vocabulary.
 
How this vocab list will help you become a better yoga teacher:
Stale cueing not only bores you, but it will negatively impact your student’s learning process. When your students get bored from repeated cues class after class, the joy of their practice can diminish, along with your passion for teaching. Finding new and fresh ways to cue your class will help you and your students continue to grow.
 
Try it – here’s how:

  • Whenever I hear or read an interesting word but realize it’s not a part of my lexicon, I write it down
  • Begin your own list and play around with how to use these words when cueing your classes
  • For example, if you hear the main character of a T.V. show use the word “autopsy” to describe how he took a dead business and dissected it to discover what killed it, take note. Then write down the word “autopsy” and explore how you can incorporate it into a cue
  • Use the words from your list to create a fresh new perspective for your yoga students – you’ll all gain inspiration from this!

 
 

3. Write two stories, one fiction and one nonfiction

Again, don’t overthink this one. Don’t worry too much about length, subject, etc. – just write two stories that make you feel excited to write about – think childhood stories, your favorite memory, etc. Whether you write these stories in a few paragraphs or in 20 pages, the point is to write them down.
 
How writing stories will help you become a better yoga teacher:
Writing fictional stories will help spark your imagination and creativity. Writing nonfictional stories will help build a true story into something interesting and valuable. Both processes will help you build more original and meaningful yoga classes.
 
Try it – here’s how:

  • Notice your use of metaphors and similes within your stories
  • Then brainstorm ways you can incorporate them into cueing yoga poses and sequences
  • Try approaching your sequencing the same way you do your stories. Start with an informative beginning, then a crescendo, find the peak and then a fulfilling ending
  • You can also gather inspiration from your stories to create a complete narrative using asanas and sequences for class

 
 
Don’t be intimidated or doubt yourself when it comes to writing because you’re probably more capable and expressive than you think. The only rules here are the ones we create, so dive in and allow your writing to flow without hesitation. Your vulnerability will reveal much about yourself and your potential to be a fantastic yoga instructor who teaches from the heart, and with an authentic voice.
 
Do you think these writing exercises can help you become a better yoga instructor? Do you have any writing or journaling tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from you, so please leave your feedback in the comments below.
 

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Lara Falberg

Lara has been teaching yoga since 2006, trained in Atlanta, now residing in Columbus Ohio. Her website is a yoga teacher resource offering verbals cues, mini sequences, class themes, and studio reviews. Her novel Yoga Train is about a group of people who travel through the yoga teacher training experience together. Follow her on Instagram (@iworkbarefoot), Facebook and Twitter.

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