Teaching Inspiration from Unexpected Sources

For me, Labor Day weekend has always felt like the last hurrah of summer. It’s the book-buying, school-shoe-shopping time of year and even though I am no longer a student in the traditional sense, September always kicks my brain into learning mode.  This past year, I’ve read some interesting non-fiction works that have influenced the way I plan and teach classes. While maybe not the most obvious choices for yoga teachers, they’ve framed my view of my student population and helped me think about a broad spectrum of learners. I hope you pick one of these up and let us know what you think!

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

If you’re familiar with the Myers-Briggs test, you know about the introversion/extroversion personality spectrum. With a new understanding of what each personality type needs, I can work to connect with each person where they are and help develop “off the mat” practices. Extroverts benefit from a little more time spent working internally, while the introverts can be encouraged to explore some more outward expressions of challenging poses.

  • The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born, It’s Grown. Here’s How by Daniel Coyle

Cain references much of the research used in this book in Quiet.  Coyle writes about deliberate practice (something introverts are naturally good at). Deliberate practice involves working a problem many times over until it has been solved from many angles. In a yoga class, sequencing for alignment, adding a flow, and then repeating the flow with one new element would be a small example of helping your students to practice deliberately. He also dives into some fascinating brain anatomy and the workings of our nervous systems.

  • Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers

Disclaimer: I’m not quite finished with this one yet, but like it for its overlap with the first two. Powers makes a case for disconnecting from our digital world to find some space for creative thought. He cites digital crises from the invention of the written world to our 4G networks and how each culture has managed their new technology. I have to admit; it has felt a little ironic to read it on my kindle.

I’m making an effort this Fall to retreat to my restorative niches, step away from the screens, and get creative. I hope you’ll join me!

-Maggie Ronan

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