Lora Hogan: 3 Lessons I’ve Learned Teaching Yoga

LoraHogan-159Yoga changed my life before I became a yoga teacher. Then I became a yoga teacher. And I discovered how my life is transformed on a daily basis.

If there are elements of the yoga practice that seem hard for you to grasp, they will be uncovered for you as you teach. If there are poses that are difficult for you to master, they will find a place of balance as you teach. If there are any fears you are trying to hide, they will come out as you teach. Because, in order to be a great teacher, you truly have to be willing to dive in with your whole self…and watch, feel, and learn from what unfolds. Here are three of the greatest lessons I’ve learned since becoming a yoga teacher:

 1) Never assume. They say to practice compassion because “everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” The problem is you can’t always outwardly SEE the battle. I still recall the yoga class (as described on Yogaaudacious) where I broke down and suddenly started sobbing during savasana. I had looked perfect. I was 22. Perfectly skinny. Smiled a lot. Able to master poses that now I can’t even begin to find my way into. But inside I was suffering. Not everyone is struggling to recover from an eating disorder or sexual assault. But everyone has something going on. The marine who can kick up so easily into hand-stand may be battling with PTSD. The (seemingly) overweight yogi may be the strongest and most flexible of the bunch. The skinny runner may have shin splints and ended up in yoga class out of frustration. The mother may have had her daughter throw up in her hair that morning. The elderly woman may have a sister fighting terminal cancer. In fact, the young woman could even be recovering from cancer herself. YOU JUST DON’T know. And you can never know. Unless a student tells you something, do not assume anything about their body, their mind, their hearts. Always ask questions. And ask again and again. Because every day, every moment, is different for us all. Never assume you already know your students…because you will never know what each class may be like and what may have motivated him/her to come to the yoga mat that day.

2) Your students are your best teachers. Learn. Always learn. Learn from your students. To teach you must know. You must practice and seek out answers to your students’ questions. You must have a dedicated home practice. You must take advanced trainings and workshops. But, most importantly, you must watch your students. You must listen. You must treat every class as an opportunity to grow. How can you be better at teaching? What can you learn in each moment? Observe. Listen. Discover. Your students will tell you more than you could ever have thought possible. They may ask a question for which you have no answer. Or they may show up and actually BE a teacher you have studied with before. But your students believe you have something valuable to offer. So you must deliver. Time and time again. And if you ever stumble in class your students are there for you. They will help you get back on track. Because they are there for you, just as you are there for them. It is our duty to grow with our classes. We learn best when we learn together. Your students are there to teach you, just as much as you are there to teach them.

3) Always be authentically you. David Mamet said “Always tell the truth — it’s the easiest thing to remember. “ Similarly, always BE YOU. Fully you. Your students will come to your class for you. Some students will not come to your class because of you. But the only way to truly succeed in yoga is to be your most authentic self possible. To love yourself enough to show up fully, unapologetically, in each and every moment of every class. There will be students who will not like you. Someone may say you are “too high energy” or that they don’t like your music, your sequencing, your smile, or eagerness. But the very thing that will set you apart in the yoga world, that will make you the best teacher possible, is to love yourself so much that you can be 100% yourself in each and every class. Because being you is the easiest thing to do. And it will inspire all your students to go out and be their true selves–on and off the mat.

 LoraHogan-19LORA HOGAN, a yoga teacher, motivational speaker, and author provides yoga for runners, athletes and everyBODY. Founder of #PassLove, Lora also lectures on improving your wellness business, finding and living your passion, and self-love. Lora wants to challenge your body, connect you to the present, and promote self-esteem and compassion. Whether an Ironman, yoga teacher, or just starting the journey, Lora helps take the practice to the next level–on and off the mat. Lora’s yoga classes and workshops nationwide include Lora Love Flows, Yoga to Unstuck Yourself, Yoga for Creativity and Yoga for Athletes.

Website: www.lorahogan.com

Blog: www.lorahogan.com/blog 

Instagram: @lora_hogan

Twitter: @lora_hogan

Facebook: Facebook.com/DailySouthernSunshine

Pinterest: Pinterest.com/LoraHogan

Kickstart your Dreams: What I Learned in Thailand

_P9A2139 (2)I just got back from Thailand. For me, it was a dream, the trip of a lifetime. I got a chance to take a pause, smile in the sunshine, appreciate my struggles and thank the universe for new opportunities.  Dreams can become a reality, I assure you!  Go after them and seek that ‘something’ that sets the colors of your world on fire. To help you get there, here is a list of my shortcuts…

1. Pay attention. Kismet is calling you. Fate is real, that is a fact. I know for certain my path was paved with cobblestones of fate. There’s no other explanation as to how I got here except that I paid attention to the signs, went with it, and never stopped trying. Whether you believe it or not, I bet if you look hard, you can find messages everywhere that were meant for you. Why are they meant for you? Because you noticed them, and that counts for something. Pay attention. Listen to the nagging voices. Look around… the universe is calling.

 2. Find the right partner. Don’t settle. I was lucky enough to find the right person for me who stuck with me and supported me no matter what hair-brained idea I came up with that I wanted to try next. To achieve your goals, it is imperative to have the right person by your side who’s a best friend, a confidant and a support network. I have told all three of my sons that choosing a spouse is the most important choice they will ever make, above anything. The right one can make the world brighter and challenges seem easier to reach.

 3. Give back. Give thanks. This one’s a biggie. First, let me give you a small backstory. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Cambodia within my recent travels abroad, and it was a place that absolutely changed me to my core. The second day I was there I knew I had to do something, and decided to start working on a foundation. If you are able, find a cause, contribute and volunteer. If not money, then donate your time. There’s a story about a kid standing on the seashore amongst millions of starfish that had washed up and were dying. He began throwing them out one by one back into the sea, and when a stranger approached and asked him what kind of difference he expected to make, he threw another starfish back and replied, “I made a difference to that one”. Be that person.  Try to make a difference, even if it’s a small one, and I guarantee you will find yourself closer to your own goals by default.

 4. Get a tattoo. Or something similar. What I really mean is that it is important to have a daily physical reminder to be thankful, pursue your goals and keep trying. If you aren’t into tattoos, wear a meaningful bracelet or keep a list of your goals in your wallet. Make the reminders that you need to ground you tangible. While in Thailand I received a sak yant blessing tattoo from a monk. That is my tangible reminder, and I’ve run my fingers over the blessing every day since I received it. If you are ever in Thailand, I highly recommend taking an adventure to Wat Bang Phra outside of Bangkok to get tattooed by a monk. It’s a wonderfully rad experience.

 5. Be Real. Don’t compromise. Find your voice. Find who you are. Be genuine and true to yourself and don’t copy other people. I have sadly watched friendships destroyed over businesses, money takeover principles, and greed destroy love. There are people who will lie, cheat and steal to great ahead, but those people’s successes never last. Strive to be the kind of person that your grandmother would be proud to know. Cut and dry, be an awesome human, don’t stray from humanity and success will find you.

6. Think big. Life is finite. All of those things you want to do… go out and do them! You may not see how to get there at first, but perseverance wins. Perseverance mixed with big dreams… wins big. Be unstoppable. And then go to celebrate on the sandy beaches of Thailand.

IMG_8831-150x150Tiffani Shipman graduated from University of Oklahoma with degrees in Psychology and Sociology, received her RYT200 through Tiffany Cruikshank Yoga Medicine, and is currently studying Acupuncture, Holistic Therapy and Sports Medicine. She is a contributor to Misfit Yoga and Wellness and you can also find her blog, yoga schedule and more at www.tiffanishipman.com When she isn’t studying her craft or teaching yoga, you’ll find her playing practical jokes on her friends and family, restoring old cars, baking cupcakes, hula hooping, or enjoying a beer in the backyard. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and three boys.