Book Review: Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses

As yoga instructor still discovering my voice and growing my teaching skills, I found this book incredibly useful. My professional background is thirteen years in the world of education teaching both high school and college-level English and Philosophy courses. As an educator, you are often assigned curriculum and essential skills you must instruct. Much time is spent crafting and creating lessons around those skills or re-imagining “canned” curriculum to fit your teaching style and students. In the world of yoga, we each have our own practice and journey, and we must continually self-reflect on our strengths and weaknesses before instructing a class. In making the transition from yoga student to yoga instructor, I found myself longing for a resource to assist me in assessing myself as a yogini and then using that assessment and reflection to craft and build courses of value for my potential yoga students.

This book is an excellent resource to help yoga instructors do just that. It is essentially a workbook divided into three sections. The first is on Finding Your Voice as an instructor. There are some great tidbits of wisdom here for instructors both seasoned and new, particularly in regards to authenticity and finding inspiration (especially when you don’t feel inspired). From there, the second section offers Fifty-Four Themes for classes! I absolutely love this section because it serves as a model for how to construct a class, even offering potential phrases and sentences to use during class that connect back to the themes explored. There are also some pretty groovy themes–I especially dug the idea of utilizing the four seasons as themes.

The final section allows the yogini to get creative herself! There are blank templates to write out your ideas and inspirations, which makes this book extra handy to carry around when you’re in the process of pondering about what to teach next.

Overall, I highly recommend this book, especially for those of you that are newer to constructing your own classes. The thematic approach is quite fun and a good exercise to reflect and consider the various approaches to teaching a yoga course!

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