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Tips for Teaching Yoga Philosophy in Asana Class

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

By Allison Ray Jeraci

Photo by Andrea Killam

Yoga International

For me, as a practitioner, yoga philosophy and asana go together like peanut butter and jelly—the philosophy takes me deeper into the asana and the deeper I go, the more I embody the philosophy.

As a yoga teacher, though, it hasn’t always been easy to figure out how to imbue my classes with, say, the wisdom of the Yoga Sutra. When I first started teaching, I could speak limitedly about certain themes, such as non-harming and truthfulness, but I would never refer to a particular sutra as a source. Partly, I thought I’d be speaking Greek to my students, and partly I couldn’t imagine how I could unpack a sutra and link it to the asana in a 75-minute class—and forget about making that happen in an hour-long class!

I didn’t want to be the teacher who gave a 15-minute dharma talk at the beginning of class and then either didn’t shut up for the duration of class or dropped the subject entirely as soon as the talk was over, because I myself didn’t enjoy those types of classes. And lastly, I felt like a fraud trying to teach sutras that I struggled with.

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