The 7 Chakras of Teaching: Practical Tips for Vinyasa Yoga Teachers

This one is near and dear to my heart, a love letter to yoga teachers with a few things I've learned in my nascent teaching career. Visit My Yoga on Gaia to read the complete article covering root to crown guidances for Yoga teachers. 

Every student deserves to feel like they are being led, cared for and protected during what can sometimes be a vulnerable space of self-exploration. If we experiment with new variations, transitions and sequences during class, we are projecting the potential risk of the unknown onto our students. This is a violation of trust and can drain both energy and confidence. Instead, treat your home practice as a laboratory and work out the mechanics of anything new inside your own body before inviting others to do so.

Vayu

The air element is matter in its gaseous form.  The particles move faster and spread out making it less dense than the heavy elements of earth and water and giving it a quality of lightness.  The most direct way to experience the air element is through the breath.  We take air in and breathe air out, feeding our bodies with up to 30,000 cycles per day.  And yet, we often don't recognize this element as nourishment.  Consider however, that you can go 3 weeks without food (earth) and 3 days without water, but you can only go 3 minutes without air. 

Air resides inside the heart chakra, anahata, which is where our true nature resides and in our most natural state, we are joyful.  When meditating on the air element, I am reminded of Danielle Laporte's perfect analogy:

Happiness is like rising [champagne] bubbles -- delightful and inevitably fleeting. Joy is the oxygen -- ever present.

Uncover What You Need

This sequence was inspired by my incredible friend Emily Taylor who asked a very simple question, what is your favorite feel good yoga pose? I immediately started scanning my yoga memory for highlights of feel good poses.  The one I kept coming back to was anjaneyasana.  It wasn't immediately clear why, but this is a pose I practice everyday. Even when I don't have time or space for a full practice, my body will find its way into some form of this pose.

I find strength in its simplicity. Some of my most sacred yoga moments have developed out of this shape because of its infinite shades.  On the days when I need it most, it's healing. On the days when I am disconnected, it grounds me. On the days when I am energized, it's empowering. And everyday, when I am joyful, this is my expression.  It brings my inner and outer worlds into balance.

The practice shown below may not have all of my favorite yoga poses. (Especially because my focus was on shoulder strengthening and upper back opening, both areas of intense opportunity for me.)  However, the qualities that are so immediately obvious to me in anjaneyasana are available in every yogasana.   Each shape is a possibility to move into greater alignment with the energetic body.  Uncover what you need in every shape, and allow for the practice to provide.

Not always a crowd pleaser, this flow returns to dolphin again and again as a way of bringing anything needing attention to the surface.