Survival Guide for Beginners Yoga

Your Survival Guide for Beginners YogaBeginners Yoga - What You Need to Know

Google image search for the word ‘yoga’ and the results are terrifyingly intimidating!  Skinny minnie bendy Wendy’s in very little clothing on an exotic beach doing their best pretzel impressions. Trust me if this is what real-life yoga is like so can count me out!! But fortunately, it’s not! Yoga truly is for everyone, all shapes, all ages, all fitness levels, all degrees of flexibility, all genders and all personality types. My Beginners Yoga Courses in Southampton are suitable for all and we love to see a diverse mix of people taking to the yoga mat.

So here’s my Survival Guide for Beginners Yoga

1) You don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. In fact, yoga has nothing to do with touching your toes, but improved flexibility is certainly a by-product of doing yoga. Telling me you’re too stiff to do yoga, is the same as saying you’re too dirty to have a shower. I know the media is full of bendy, skinny people in fancy yoga poses but this isn’t what it looks like in ‘real life’! Beginners Yoga poses are really attainable for all.

2) Nobody cares if you giggle or fart and you can’t make a fool of yourself either. Everyone else is too focused on what they’re doing to even notice what’s happening with you. I promise!

3) Don’t wear Tesco leggings (or other really cheap makes) they’re see-through when you bend over – trust me I’ve seen A LOT! Get someone at home to check for you before attending your first Beginners Yoga class.

4) Take your shoes and socks off, yoga is practised barefoot on a non-slip mat. Your yoga teacher will have a few spare mats, but if you enjoy it then buy your own mat – much more hygienic!

5) If you arrive early to your first Beginners Yoga Class, sit down on your yoga mat, relax and smile at the person next to you. Yoga classes have a really friendly community atmosphere and everyone remembers how daunting being new can be.

6) Wear a couple of layers,  like top/t-shirt and a jumper. It’s likely you’ll get pretty hot halfway through and then cold during the relaxation. Ladies remember a sports bra or things may just pop out when you bend forward.

7) You’ll do a yoga pose called Downward Facing Dog a lot, it’s hard when you start as it uses upper body strength and hamstring flexibility but after awhile it’ll get easier. Know it’s OK to put your knees down and use all-fours anytime. If your teacher says ‘Downward Facing Dog is a resting pose’ try and ignore the urge to yell out and curse at them, they’re probably just forgotten how freaking hard this pose is when you’re a Yoga Beginner.

8) It’s OK to rest – yoga is not a boot camp and it’s not about forcing your body to do anything.  it’s about listening to and respecting your body. So if you get tired and want to take a little breather, then do it! It’s all about you.

9) It’s OK to be confused – when you attend your beginners yoga class everything is new, so understandably you might feel confused. See this as an exciting reminder that you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and something good is coming your way. By your 3rd class, you usually feel like you’re getting the hang of it. Although I’ve been practising for 16 years now and I still get confused and often feeling like a yoga beginner!

10) Your life will change! It’s crazy magic, just 1 hour/week of yoga, bending, stretching, strengthening and breathing deeply and everything changes. Your ability to handle stress, the ease in your relationships, the confidence and calmness you feel in yourself, the relationship you have will your body. Quite simply put yoga makes everything better!

Ready to give it a try? Check out my class schedule here for different venues and times throughout the week and register for your first free class.

See you on the mat!



The Art of Being a Cover Teacher


As a trainee or new yoga teacher a great way to get extra yoga teaching experience is by offering to be a cover teacher at your local yoga classes. But being a  Yoga Cover Teacher for a regular yoga class can be daunting, even for an experienced yoga teacher.  This is a topic that is covered in my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training  Course, based in Southampton, but I’ve put together a really easy at a glance guide that should help you through the most tricky of situations when it comes to covering yoga classes.


Start by preparing. Get as much information as you can from the yoga teacher in advance…

How many yoga students?

Demographics? Age, experience, likes dislikes.

Arrive Early! 

Aim to arrive before the yoga students start showing up. This way you have seen the space you will be in and given yourself a few moments to orientate yourself and take those Full Yogic Breaths, to calm any nerves. Trust me it’s normal to feel nervous before covering a yoga class, even after teaching for 8 years I still get nervous if I cover a yoga class here in Southampton.

As your yoga students trickle in you will be insitu, ready to greet and introduce yourself. Find out more about the students you will be teaching that class, which leads me to my next point. If you can’t get inside the room, still be early, wait outside the class room and get chatting.

Ask Questions

When chatting before the class ask people there names, repeat their name back “Hi Jane, so nice to meeting you”  and then try to use their name during class. This goes along way!

  • Introduce yourself publicly once everyone has arrived and ready to start class, remember to introduce yourself using your full name so that they can connect with you through social media afterwards “Hi, I’m Laura Green, I’ve been teaching yoga in Southampton for over 8 years now and I’m delighted to be covering your class today.”
  • Ask about injuries, likes, dislikes. Find out more about the type of things they would like to have in class.
  • Do they like long or short savasanas?
  • What about crow, or sun salutations?
  • Get the students to show you the layout they normally work in
  • And don’t dwell on resting bitch face (I know you know who I’m referring too!)

Yoga Southampton

Be Memorable 

Aim to teach them something. It’s okay to say that the yoga class is going to be different, I am not like “Jo” but I’m certain we will have a great session! Ideas such as:

  • Use a great piece of music for Sun Salutes.
  • Try introducing essential oils in the beginning of the yoga practice. Make sure to ask if the yoga students are okay with this.
  • Bring eye masks to use in savasana.
  • Try a guided chocolate tasting meditation at the end.

Yoga Teacher Southampton

When it comes to cover teaching, success comes down to a balance of charisma and skill. Charisma comes from confidence, a big smile and making eye contact. It’s easy not to feel confident when you are walking into a room full of strangers, half of which have resting bitchy face syndrome because you’re not their usual teacher but trust in your yoga, take a big breath and strut your stuff – you know you’ve got this, you know your a good teacher and they’re gonna have a damn good class with you!

Final note – don’t poach students,  word will get back to the regular teacher and you won’t be asked again. But if a student comes up at the end of class and actively asks where else you teach proudly tell them and invite them to attend one of your yoga classes.

If you want any more support in how to have a rocking career as a Yoga Teacher, check out my one:one 3 Month Yoga Teacher Mentorship Programme and I’ll have you flying in no time!


Medical Contraindications for Yoga Poses

yoga pose contraindication Medical Contraindications for Yoga Poses southampton teacher training

Ever looked for a Yoga Pose Contraindication Fact Sheet?

Yep, me too ! After a quick google search looking for an easy reference document on contraindications for yoga poses, I found nothing that would work as a one sheet reference card, so I created one myself. I hope you will use this simple straightforward guide created for yoga teachers enabling you to support your students with confidence when they present with a yoga pose contraindication. Print Medical Contraindications for Yoga Poses Worksheet.

Yoga students come to class with a variety of physical conditions and in most cases common sense combined with controlled and pain free range of movement will keep yoga students safe in your class. But there are a few medical conditions and injuries for which certain yoga poses are contraindicated and other poses would be particularly beneficial.

For example, contraindications for:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. The main symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling, in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring fingers.

Find out from your student how it feels to bare weight on the hands and wrists

Poses to avoid: Handstand, wheel

Poses to practice with caution: Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Chataranga

Hamstring Injury – If your hamstrings are weak and tight, they’ll tug on your hips – tipping them forward – and compromise functional movement. Often hamstring tightness is indicative of weakness, so make sure to include some hamstring strengthening as well as stretching in your yoga sequencing.

Depends how recent and how acute, if acute and recent 

Poses to avoid: Downward Dog, Hanumanasana, Forward Bend

Recommended poses to practice:  Locust, Hamstring curls

So print of this PDF, laminate it and keep it in your teaching bag.  This is by no means an exhaustive list but it covers what I have commonly experienced during my 8 years of teaching yoga in Southampton.

Maybe you have an established yoga practice already and want to deepen your knowledge. Feel free to print this for yourself to reference at home. If you would like to learn more, you could sign up to Laura’s Mentoring Programme, join Laura in class or if you are interested in a  200 Hour Yoga Alliance Professionals Accredited Teacher Training Course, Laura is taking applications for the 2019 training course located in Southampton.




Want To Be A Yoga Teacher ?

How Do you know If You Are Ready To Do A Yoga Teacher Training Course?

Yoga Teacher Training


It’s quite simple really.

You don’t.

And not everyone who does a yoga teacher training course goes on to be a teacher! Some people do it just to further their own practice, and that too, is a beautiful thing my friend.

What is helpful to know if you are ready to take the next step is:

~ Are you thinking about yoga all the time?

~ Yoga has helped you and now you want to share yoga with everyone around you?

~ You wish to deepen your own practice?

~ You have a committed and solid practice?

~ You have the space and time to commit to a Teacher Training?

The decision for me, to do my yoga teacher training, has come from a place of love. A love for myself, and a love for others – a deep desire to share the joys of what yoga has brought me. Sometimes I’ve ended up in tears, more often a sweaty heap – and definitely a lot of laughs. I’ve learnt so much over the past few years, attending workshops run by Yoga Alliance Professional Certified Teachers has really grown my core knowledge of yoga. The sense of community here in Southampton and being enfolded into a group of people who share the same views and values in life was a huge influencing factor in my decision.

The feeling of wanting to know more is a wonderful compass to navigate your journey. Yoga goes beyond a physical practice.  Its about learning why we move in a certain way. Its about form and function. Then there is the philosophy side of things – the intriguing journey yoga has taken through the ages that is an ancient practice for many a soul. Whatever your reasoning – yoga teacher training will no doubt have a deep impact on your life.

If you are not sure, spend some more time on your mat. Find your path – when the moment is right for you. You will know. Trust yourself to go with the feelings and just do it! You won’t regret it.

If you have any questions or are curious about the process of becoming a yoga teacher, check out our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Page which will give you an in-depth look at what is really needed to be a Certified Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals.

Om Shanti Om




200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

~ Ever Dreamt of  Doing Your Yoga Teacher Training ~

Yoga Teacher Training

There are so many reasons why I am thankful to have found the path of yoga which led me to do my own yoga teacher training. It has shaped my life in so many ways. My relationship with my body, my relationship with others, my mental health, my career. I used to have a ‘job’ but I retired at 26, went to do my yoga teacher training and truly have never felt like I’ve worked a day since – despite my husband calling me a workaholic. I can truly honestly say Teaching Yoga is the most rewarding, amazing, heartfelt, joyous and at times terrifying experience.

And training to be a Yoga Teacher – well that’s a whole new level of personal development. Here are just a few awesome points about teaching yoga . . .

  1. You spend all your time barefoot & wearing leggings
  2. Your days are filled with the most wonderful people who you get to connect with on an honest, open & authentic level
  3. You become a part of the most amazing community filled with people who inspire you on a daily basis
  4. You get really good at doing yoga poses as you’re doing them all day every day
  5. You help people and get to make a real difference in people’s lives which is so rewarding
  6. You can fit it around another job, quit work all together to be your own self-employed Yoga Boss, or save it as a retirement project
  7. You are constantly learning and growing as a person and a teacher

If this sounds like something you need, then let me be your guide.

The next 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals starts March 2019 and I’m taking application now. It’s a 9-month journey with 8 Weekends in the UK, Southampton + 1 Week Intensive in Spain.

A minimum of 2 Years Prior Yoga Experience is Required.


So What Can You Expect?

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course

with Laura Green


Yoga Teacher Training In Southampton

01|Real World Teaching Experience

Many courses will teach you a lot of yoga, which yes you need! BUT you also need to learn, HOW TO TEACH. How to stand up in front of a group of students and guide them through a yoga experience that works for their body, calms their mind and uplifts their soul! How to use your voice, choose your words, place your hands; how to sequence, theme and break down asanas. Teaching yoga is both an art & a science and it takes practice. Each Sunday on this course the Trainee Teachers lead our Community Yoga Class to practise their skills on actual students in a real class environment. We get you teaching from Month 1!


Yoga Teacher Training in Southampton

02|Engaging & Educational 

There’s a lot to learn:
~ Asana, Pranayama & Meditation
~ Anatomy, Physiology & Biomechanics
~ History of Yoga, the Ancient Yoga Texts
~ Yoga Philosophy & Modern Day Applications
~ Prana, Chakras, Bhandas, Mantra, Chanting
~ Sequencing, theming, imagery
~ Hands on Assists & Verbal Cueing
~ Teaching Methodology
~ Business Methodology

Sessions are taught Laura and a faculty of fascinating guests teachers with a strong focus on practical, hands-on, relatable, fun and memorable teaching. We want to empower you with knowledge, skills & confidence so that you can go out there and teach with Confidence, Passion & Precision.


Yoga Teacher Training in Southampton

03|Supportive Community

Training to teach yoga is tough. The course asks for long hours over weekends, where you’re regularly asked to step outside of your comfort zone. Expectations are high and standards are higher BUT you have an amazing support crew from your fellow trainees, Laura’s entire community of students who turn up each Sunday for class, and an amazing Faculty of Teachers who all have your back and want to see the very best for you. This is a journey unlike no other and you’ll make friends for a lifetime.


Yoga Teacher Training in Southampton
04|Blend of Vinyasa, Hatha & Yin

This course focuses on giving you the skills to be the teacher you want to be. It’s not tied down to styles and specific lineages but will give you the confidence to teach yoga in the WAY YOU WANT and in a way that serves your community.

With a grounding start in Hatha Yoga, progressing through the more dynamic Vinyasa Yoga and then developing on to Yin Yoga and even some Chair Yoga.




Yoga Teacher Training in Southampton

05| Final Week Training in Spain

After 8 Weekends of training in Southampton, UK Laura will whisk you away for a final week-long intensive in the South of Spain. Here we will complete this 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training course, taking a practical exam and experiencing the more subtle and advanced aspects of teaching such as the Chakra System, Prana Vayus and Kosha. The week finishes on a high with our Graduation Ceremony after which you fly home a fully qualified Yoga Teacher.




06|AcYoga Teacher Training in Southamptoncredited by Yoga Alliance 

This Yoga Teacher Training Course taking place in Southampton, has been quality controlled, verified, assessed and accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals. Laura Green Training & Mentoring Ltd is a registered yoga school and Laura is a Senior Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals. You will be fully qualified and insured with the leading industry body giving you confidence and trust in your training.





You’ll find all the details including Course Overview, Dates and Course Fees here. Have a good read through then get in touch for an informal chat and to find out more about the application process.

If you have any questions, thoughts please get in touch. If you know anyone might be interested in this journey I’d love it if you could forward this on.

Lots of Love, Namaste & Oms

Yoga Teacher Training in Southampton


Happy Gut = Happy You

Gut Health Yoga Southampton

by Charlotte Troester


Gut health isn’t the sexiest of subjects, but it’s one I’ve been exploring recently since my experience with nutrition has changed.


A book on the subject that I recommend is ‘The Clever Guts Diet’ by Dr. Michael Mosley. Here is what I have found out about Gut Health

Our intestines has a brain.

It contains over 100 million neurons, as many as you would find in the brain of a cat!

Wonder why you have ‘a gut instinct’?

It comes from this second brain which orchestrates digestion and moderates gut pain

One to two kilos of live creatures (microbes) live in our gut.

They make up what is known as our microbiome. We have over 50 trillion microbes in our gut, at least 1000 different species – a richer diversity of life than you’d find in a rainforest!

Here’s the part that I find most interesting when it comes to our microbiome and what these microbes do:

  • They help regulate our body weight.
  • They decide how much energy your body needs to extract from the food you eat.
  • They control hunger signals.
  • They help decide which foods you crave.
  • They determine how much your blood sugar spikes in response to a meal.
  • They teach and regulate our entire immune system.
  • Over the last half-century there has been a massive rise in allergic diseases (e.g. asthma, eczema) caused by an overactive immune system.
  • We have also seen an increase in autoimmune diseases (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes), primarily caused by an immune system out of control.
  • Changing the mix of bacteria in your gut can reduce the impact of these diseases.
  • They create hormones and chemicals which affect your mood.
  • The microbiome does this by taking the bits of food our body can’t digest and converting them into hormones and chemicals.
  • This has implications on our mood, appetite and general health.
  • Changing your biome may reduce anxiety and lessen depression.
  • 80-95% of serotonin is created in our gut (depending on which source you are looking at). Serotonin is often called the ‘happiness hormone’.

You can see why I have become fascinated by the subject. The idea of healing the gut and therefore healing the body and mind has captivated me.

The reason for my interest in this subject began in January 2016 when I completed a 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond programme with Arbonne. I found myself losing bloating and excess weight, gaining more energy, clearer skin and better sleep but these were all results I was expecting. What surprised me was the incredible feeling of happiness that took over and for me this was the best result I could ask for (especially during a long, dark January!).

I am certainly no expert on the subject of gut health. I only speak from my personal experience which has then encouraged me to do my own research. The relation between gut health and happiness is fascinating and one I highly encourage you to explore.




Happiness is…

Yoga  Southampton Happinessby Charlotte Troester


My name is Charlotte and I am on a happiness journey! My mission is to live my best life possible and to help and inspire others to do the same.

There have been three pivotal turning points in my life so far. One was in 2010 when I took a year out with my partner to travel the world. We had saved enough not to have to work and visited 11 different countries in that year. Every morning we woke up and could decide what to do with the day, where to go, what to explore. Every day I woke up filled with excitement and every day I went to bed feeling inspired, having learnt something new, made a new connection and feeling happy.

The second was in 2013, when I found yoga. Yoga has introduced me to a whole new journey, one where I am learning to live in the moment, follow my passion, believe in myself and to have the courage to live the life I wish to lead. What started as a way to physically exercise myself has become so much more.

In 2015 yoga led me to assess my life and ask me what really made me happy. The answer was helping others and freedom and so I allowed myself to be open to opportunity. Shortly after this, I started my Arbonne business alongside my business development management job and a whole new journey began, one of personal development, continuous growth, new friendships and discovering a deepening passion for health and wellness.

In January 2017 I was made redundant from my job but as I already had my business in place, this became my full time passion. My business has given me the freedom and flexibility to delve deeper into self-care and what makes us happy as humans. I continue on this journey, helping as many people as I can in finding their true health and happiness and living their best life.

For each one of us happiness means something different. Happiness for me is starting my day off with purpose and positivity and I am so happy to share my routine with you. Here’s what works for me…

Wake up one hour earlier than I need to.

This is a shocker for some – I know it was for me when I first started! Now that I work from home for myself, I have flexibility, so I choose to get up at 6.30am as I like to start my work between 8am and 9am. However, when I was working in a job for someone else, I got up at 5.30am.

Why do I get up an hour earlier? So that I can start my day off right, and here’s what I do…


I start my day in silence. Meditation allows you to start the day in control and focused. It’s surprising how much it clears your mind and how many ideas and inspiration will come to you after giving your mind this space.


Positive words to yourself – they have been scientifically proven to rewire your brain. What you think about, you bring about. By telling yourself positive things in the morning, this raises the level of feel-good hormones and you will approach the day on a whole new energy level.


Be bold – picture your wildest dreams coming true! Or simply picture your day going as you would like it to. Visualising what you want to achieve is one of the most powerful things you can do to help you to actually make it happen.


I find this is the perfect time to do some yoga, even if it’s just five or ten minutes. Time spent first thing to stretch and breathe makes the world of difference to me, especially if I am going to be working at my desk that day. You might want to do this, or a few star-jumps or maybe bounce around the room to your favourite song!


Feeding your mind first thing with something inspiring and positive, or learning something new, will make you feel energised and alert. Reading is one of my favourite things to do, so how wonderful to wake up to this!


Write your worries, joys, fears, struggles, successes and set your intentions for the day – get it all down on paper and out of your head. I end my journaling with gratitude – 3 things that I am grateful for in that moment, whether that be my partner or the cup of herbal tea in front of me. Big or small, feeling grateful is one of the happiest states to be in.

Eat Healthy

There is an undeniable link between the food we eat and our happiness (more on this in a future blog…). Hormones and chemicals are created during the digestion process and what these are/how many of them there are depend on what it is we have eaten. I start my morning with a protein shake made of protein, healthy fats (nut butter/avocado/coconut oil, etc.), fibre, vegetables (kale/spinach/celery/beetroot, etc.) and berries.

Your morning routine doesn’t have to take as much time as I spend on mine. You could even do a six minute version! I recommend reading ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod if you’re looking for further inspiration and please do contact me if you want further recommendations on books or resources for any of the above. I would love to help!



Living Your Yoga

yoga southampton

What does it mean to live your yoga? To be a Yogi or Yogini? Is it even possible in the modern Western world? Yogis of old in India often segregated themselves from society, spending much time in isolation living in the mountains and caves in India, meditating for very many hours on a quest to calm the mind and achieve enlightenment.

In the West, Yoga is often something that we do; an interest, or hobby, a class that we attend once a week but soon the benefits of yoga seep into the rest of one’s life.  Then with continued dedication and commitment the practice of yoga can become a way of life.  Everyone’s path is different, and although it is common to come across preconceived notions of what a Yogi must and must not do, it is essential that you walk your own path based on intuition, guidance, reflection and self-study. It is a path towards growth, unity and harmony with oneself and the world we live in; for me this is enlightenment.

What is Enlightenment?

The meaning of enlightenment and what happens once one achieves it is open to much debate. For me, it is something we can all experience through the path of yoga. It is the experience of being completely present in the moment, in touch with your true self and free from the suffering imposed by the fluctuations of the mind. Maybe our first such experience lasts for just the tiniest moment, but through continued growth there are more of these moments and they last longer until this becomes your permanent state of awareness.

Suggestions for Living Your Yoga

Here are a few ideas you may wish to consider in exploring how to live your yoga. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all of these practices are just yet, we will study these in detail together. Please note that this is the road less travelled, it is winding and bumpy with many obstacles but a life lived with intention, clarity and an open heart is a life worth living.

  • A regular home yoga practice in addition to continued guidance from teachers.
  • A committed meditation practice.
  • The practice of pranayama to calm the mind and ease through daily challenges.
  • Journaling as a form of self-study and reflection.
  • Volunteering and being of service to others – karma yoga.
  • Intentionally focussing on the qualities of loving kindness; mantra and meditation can support this.
  • Reading texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita and interpreting their being for you.
  • Exploring bringing the Yamas and Niyamas into everyday life.
  • Creating your own sadhana, a daily spiritual practice.
  • Upgrading your diet for optimum health and well-being.
  • Being part of a satsang, a community of likeminded individuals joining for discussions.
  • Performing a daily gratitude practice.
  • Setting intentions, using affirmations and sankalpas to bring clarity to your days.
  • Working through mental and emotional afflictions and challenges such as samskaras that stand the way of your spiritual growth.

Yoga Immersion Course

If this is the path you wish to travel support and guidance of a teacher and a community is really beneficial. I’d love to walk this path with you and invite you to consider joining the Yoga Immersion Course. A 6-month course for committed yoga students designed to deepen your awareness, knowledge & understanding of yoga in all its dimensions.


Boundries For Yoga Teachers

yoga southampton

Teaching Yoga is Tough…you get that right? I refused to accept this for a long-term, having come from a full-on corporate job. I couldn’t understand why I was tired when I was working way fewer hours.  But we give our all, our body, heart and soul when we teach and this my love, is why, it is tiring.

In preparation for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course which started this weekend, I’ve been considering the role of boundaries in teaching yoga. Boundaries are about conserving your energy as a Yoga Teacher and respecting your students. The term ‘boundaries’ gets used a lot (along with ‘holding space’) but we never really stop to consider what it means and how we work with them.

Most of the time we don’t ever know where our boundaries are until they get crossed. If you’d like to reflect on your boundaries and your sensitivity towards your students boundaries consider the following categories, I’ve included a few examples of boundaries to provoke your thinking but have no judgement either way.  Boundaries are personal, you set yours and your students set theirs.

  • Material: What do you feel comfortable lending/sharing with your students. Do you have a system in place if you loan out books so that you get them back? Do you lug around a huge bag of mats for your students increasing physical strain on your body and then spend your spare time cleaning these mats (I’m still guilty of this)? What about students & you stepping on people’s yoga mats? If you teach a really sweaty class do you have a hand towel to place between your student and your hands when you do adjusts? Will you teach students in your home or not? Would you give a student a lift in your car?
  • Physical: Where are your boundaries in terms of personal space? I like my personal space and I’m not a hugger. How do you read a student’s boundaries around being touched and adjusted? What about when students work together in partner work? This also refers to your physical time. How long are you prepared to give a student at the end of class? If a student is asking a lot of questions have you considered inviting them instead to book a one:one session with you? What about when you bump into a student outside of class. I guess I’m not the only one who’s stood in Waitrose for 20 mins listening to a student, after having asked ‘How Are You?’. My husband pulled me up again on Sunday after another long supermarket chat. He’s coaching me not to ask ‘how are you?’ unless I have the time to listen but to instead say ‘Nice to see you’.
  • Mental: This comes down to thoughts, values, opinions, beliefs. How do you share the philosophy of yoga whilst honouring your student’s various beliefs? How do you stay true to your authentic self when there are so many preconceived ideas of how a yoga teacher should be? How much of your personal life and journey do you share?
  • Emotional: This is one of the toughest ones. The practice of yoga brings emotions to the surface. How you respond to a student who is feeling upset will differ whether it’s just before the class starts, during the class or after class? When you ask a student how they are and they respond ‘I’m really not good’ but then give no further information how do you interpret this boundary? I currently say something like ‘Well done for coming to class, you’re in the right place. If I can support you in any way please ask’. When you’re having a tough time of things what is your process for making sure you don’t bring this into class. Where are your boundaries when it comes to the student-teacher relationship? Would you go for coffee with a student? What about romantic relationships? My boundaries are pretty strong here as I’m an introvert and I find socialising like this draining. I prefer to keep a small group of friends.

This is a complex topic but I hope this has given you some food for thought. It’s good to think through where your boundaries are and also know when, why & how to shift them. At some points or with some people you may need to firm up your boundaries and in other situations make them a little more permeable.


Trusting your Yoga Teacher Instincts

yoga teacher southampton

You’ve planned a high energy, upbeat yoga sequence designed to challenge your students, you look at the class in front of you and they’re tired, stressed and in need of something chilled out and relaxing? What do you do? You trust your yoga teacher instincts and rethink you plan!

The main critique of lesson planning and sequencing is that it prevents you from reading your students, their energy and what they need in the moment. I encourage yoga teachers to do both; lesson plan thoroughly, play and create yoga sequences that enhance your yoga students experience of the asanas and the flow of prana and then be present and adapt to the moment: watch your students as they arrive at the yoga class, observe them during the warm up and throughout your sequencing and adjust your plan accordingly, by that I mean the following:

  • As your students begin, are they holding their shoulders unusually tight? If so, add shoulder opening variations to your standing sequence and some extra warm up poses.
  • Have they walked in energised and full of get up and go, when you’ve planned a totally chilled out and meditative flow: Meet them somewhere in the middle to help them find balance, remove a few of your resting poses, add in some extra vinyasas, swap your pranayama to a balancing one such as Nadi Shodana.
  • Do your students look exhausted and depleted: Take your poses lower to the ground (e.g. instead of a high lunge take a low lunge, switch standing or seated poses for the reclining (supta) variations), swap a few Downward Facing Dogs out for Child’s Pose. Encourage students to take it easy and honour their body, cut out a couple rounds of your Sun Salutation or Standing Poses to save time for an extra long Savasana.
  • You’ve planned a flowing yoga class with emphasis on fluidity and the movement of prana but in the first couple of rounds of Sun Salutations you notice some very dodge shoulder alignment in the majority of your students during Chaturanga. Pause your music (if using), explain your going to take a little detour to workshop Chaturanga and then get back into your flow.

Learning to be observant, trusting your gut and being flexible with the content of your lesson plan will help to ensure that your students leave your class feeling looked after.

If you’d like to explore in greater detail the Art & Science of Sequencing, Laura is teaching an 8 Hour CPD day on Sunday 15th April 2018 at Rownhams House near Southampton. Find the details here.