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Why Words Matter: 5 Reasons Why Yoga Teachers Should Write

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For the first few years of my teaching I would write out my notes for each class meticulously, including, theme, sequencing, and an account of whatever myth or story I might be sharing that day.

At one point, I had another teacher ask me, “Do you still need do that?

The truth was I rarely looked at my notes once they were written, even though I usually had them next to me at the front of the room when I began class. I felt as if this setup operated like osmosis-my notes’ nearby presence seeped into and through me as I began to teach. These were words and thoughts that I had pulled out of my body and brain and they sat there comfortably beside me as I began teaching like a mini-me, a companion.

For most of us, writing is a way of clarifying our thoughts for ourselves as well as a means of self-expression. I enjoyed the process and act of recording my class notes. When I look back at them now, I am amazed to find all sorts of ideas that I had forgotten about, sequences that I had been fond of and are worth revisiting, and even more importantly, a sense of where I was at the moment of my life when I was about to teach that class or that workshop in that studio in that city.

My teaching notes read like a very particular account of my life, and I am happy to have them as resource and as memoir.

There are so many important reasons for yoga teachers to write. When my writing muscles get lazy, just as with my body, it becomes more and more difficult to begin, the words come more slowly, and I have to look harder for the right phrase, my natural rhythm, and my delight in language. My writing practice enriches my teaching practice, verbally, rhythmically, creatively.

So here are five reasons why I encourage every yoga teacher to write:

To connect to your own heart and mind in order to better assist your students in connecting to theirs.

To clarify your vision of how you teach, what you teach, and who you are as a teacher.

To become more articulate in your teaching, having the concepts you wish to express and the words with which to express them at the tip of your tongue.

To be able to write a better bio, blog, and newsletter through the regular exercising of your writing muscles.

To coax your ideas, your creativity, and your dreams out of your head and into the world.

Words matter.

Self-expression matters.

If we are to be the best teachers we can be, a writing practice, just like asana and meditation, nurtures creativity, creates connection, and gives voice to what we care about most.

In a couple of weeks I begin teaching the 4th session of Writing Your Practice, a 10-part teleconference writing course designed particularly for yogis. In the past 2 years, WYP has had students from all over the Americas, Europe, Africa, and East Asia.

If you are interested in diving into the heart of your self-expression and producing some writing with us this fall, find the complete course outline & registration at Click the Writing Your Practice link.

Please join us for a free preview call featuring myths, writing exercises, and Q&A on Wed, Sept 25 at 12-1pm Eastern time. Call (712) 432-0900 and use PIN 791388.

Find your voice. Connect your life on and off the mat. Make yourself heard.



Susanna is committed to finding beauty and cultivating creativity in everyday life. Combining her life as a yoga teacher with her background as a visual artist and writer, her classes offer an experience of intensity and grace designed to awaken each student’s individual artistry. Susanna’s weekly public classes are at NYC’s Virayoga. In addition, Susanna teaches workshops internationally. Her online classes can be found on StudioLiveTV. Susanna is a storyteller who loves sharing Hindu myth and Tantric philosophy. She has spent over eleven years studying with Tantric Scholar Dr. Douglas Brooks, with whom she travels regularly to South India. She gives talks on yoga and Hindu myth online and at yoga studios internationally. She writes for a number of publications, including The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Rebelle Society, and Origin Magazine. Susanna has written and lectured extensively for NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, including co-writing the book Looking at Matisse and Picasso. Susanna created Writing Your Practice workshops and telecourses for yogis, which apply yoga philosophy and myth to the practice of writing. The 2013 WYP 10-part teleconference begins Oct 2 with a preview call Sept 25. In the past two years the course has included students from North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, and East Asia. For more information, please visit the Writing Your Practice section of her website.

View more articles by Susanna Harwood Rubin

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