4 things I learned from teaching my first workshop

Workshop flow
Your life as a teacher begins the day you realize that you are always a learner.
— Robert John Meehan

This Sunday I led my first workshop for a lovely group of humans in Bristol. There was poetry meditation, arm balance play, exploration of the balance between yang and yin energies and a little discussion about sustainable living, supported by some products from a handful of amazing UK brands who are promoting the zero-waste movement (linked at the bottom). It was a dream. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had teaching and suffice it to say I will be leading more of these to keep connecting with amazing people in my community, keep sharing what I love and keep LEARNING. Just because I’m a teacher now doesn’t mean I suddenly know it all; this is uncharted territory for me and I’m learning something new every second. Workshops are no different and these are a few of the key things I took away:

1.    Don’t assume you know what a person can or can’t do just by looking at them. Some of the ladies who turned up to my workshop were outside of the age range I’m used to from my classes and I had to check myself as I started making assumptions about what they would or wouldn’t be able to do before I even realised what was happening. Basically, I totally judged a book by its cover. Thankfully I caught it early and that voice was well and truly silenced as I watched them casually slide into splits and pop up into arm balances like they could do it in their sleep. Absolute badasses.

2.    You may be the lead teacher, but you are not the only teacher. The participants who turned up were not the only ones learning. I had people sharing tips or tricks they had learned from other teachers. I had one person on a long recovery from injury and watching the way she modified and used props to support her body was an education. I was lucky enough to have an actual teacher in the class sharing her own tips and tricks. At one point she apologised, as if she was stealing my thunder. SHARE IT GIRL we’re all students here.

3.    It’s okay to be unpolished and human. In fact, it’s preferable. This isn’t a job interview. When you share your weird sense of humour, verbalise all your random brain farts and generally act the way you would around your friends, people can relate and it also helps to put them at ease – workshops and classes can be very intimidating for some people so to be able to view the teacher as a human helps. Not to mention it puts you at ease so you can enjoy yourself and share the very valuable and unique gift you have to offer without being a bag of nerves. I asked the participants to share feedback afterwards and two positive remarks I received related to my personality and the informal nature of the workshop. And I literally had SO MUCH FUN.

4.    Having a plan is good; being flexible is better. I’m not saying don’t plan your workshop, or class or whatever it is you’re offering. People are paying good money and you had better show up. What I mean is don’t be married to your predefined format and freak out if you veer a little off course. I absolutely had a plan for all parts of the workshop; I planned roughly what I wanted to say, planned what I wanted to cover in certain windows of time, the key takeaways I wanted to share etc. but I edited as I went along. I read the energy of the room and allowed that to dictate a natural flow rather than sticking exactly to what I had written down. I had no idea before I turned up who was going to be there and what was going to happen, so how could I possibly know exactly how everything should go? A plan is just a loose framework and best guesses.

Teaching how to prep for crow pose

Teaching how to prep for crow pose

If you’re a teacher thinking about leading a workshop yourself, my advice would be to stop deliberating. Like with anything, you will learn by doing and whilst more work and preparation is required than for a class, the payoff is far greater too - potentially financially, yes, but also in terms of your own growth, learning and enjoyment. Not to mention the countless other opportunities you’re not even aware you would have missed. I got to connect with a fellow local teacher who is also going to help out with cover whilst I’m in Santorini. I met the loveliest studio owner and her team, taught in their gorgeous space and was promoted by them through their channels, giving me more exposure in my local yoga community. I discovered and connected with some amazing companies I may not have come across otherwise, who partnered with me and I would work with (and recommend!) again in a heartbeat. Speaking of…

Workshop swag bag

Workshop swag bag

Our fantastic eco-conscious partner brands

 

A huge thank you to all of the wonderful UK businesses who partnered with us to offer a sustainable swag bag to our participants:

 

  • Mokṣa Mokṣa is a Sanskrit word meaning liberation, bliss and inner peace and Chloe wanted it to be about investing in some quality “me time” in a fast-paced world. She runs the company from Devon, and all of her products are vegan and free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates, alcohol and fillers. All products are recyclable and repeat customers have a refillable option. The lavender and chamomile cleansing oil gently removes impurities, excess oil and makeup. Follow at @moksa.skincare.

  • Soap Daze Sharon runs the business from a workshop in her garden in Devon, making wholesome, boutique quality soaps which are vegan and palm oil free, and free from artificial fragrances and preservatives. The soaps are hard and long lasting with a creamy lather. Follow at @soapdazedevon.

  • The White Teeth Box Luke is passionate about reducing the impact on our planet and all of his products are vegan, either biodegradable or fully recyclable and minimally packaged. The Life Brush is made from FSC certified bamboo and for every 4, 6 or 8 pack you buy, you will receive a free 4-pack to give away to friends and family to help them reduce their waste too. Follow at @thewhiteteethbox.

  • Wolf and Mermaid Eve, yoga teacher and artist based out of Brighton, is the heart and soul behind the gorgeous collection of yoga products at Wolf and Mermaid, all of which are made with non-toxic dyes and 100% organic filling. She also donates 10% of all profits to Coral Reef Alliance. Follow at @wolf_and_mermaid.

  • Zero Green Lidia and Stacey are the brains behind Bristol’s first zero waste shop. Both were becoming frustrated by the widespread use of single use plastic and redundant packaging and after spending their lunch breaks discussing TED talks and YouTube videos they’d seen, and articles they’d read, they realised they were not alone in their desire to work towards a zero-waste lifestyle and they made their dream a reality. They sell a plethora of pulses, grains, spices, herbs, flours, teas, coffees, oils, snacks and most things you can think of completely zero waste out of their shop on North Street in Bedminster. Follow at @zerogreenbristol.

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning one of these bags for yourself and a friend, as well as a discount code for 20% off my next EARTH workshop (date TBC), head over to my instagram and visit the post with the picture of the swag bag for details on how to enter - ends Sunday 17th Feb! Also, keep your eye on my events page for details about upcoming workshops and lastly but most importantly, thank you for being here!


No Planet B

 

There exists an imbalance in our natural world

And a toxic lifestyle which has unfurled

Where we dry up resources at such a rate

The planet doesn’t have chance to regenerate

Where convenience is our only consideration

For the design of our man-made creations

Nothing can satiate our greed-fuelled thirst

But how about the earth which existed here first?

The world of tropical jungles and vast blue seas

Of lush meadows and forests dense with trees

Of expansive deserts and arctic sea ice

Before millions of species paid the price

For our food and our fashion, for our sport and our trade

For the rituals and traditions and cultures we made

Could we be the protectors of this place we call home?

Where all species were once free to roam

Without danger of choking on man-made waste

Without danger of quickly becoming displaced

As their habitat is decimated beyond repair

As we spill oil in the seas and contaminate the air

Instead of being the dealers of death

What would happen if we stopped to take a breath?

To consider how we could coexist

In a way which allows the earth to subsist

Could we make our lives a little less fast-paced?

Could we make a conscious decision to reduce our waste?

Could we support companies who are being the change?

Could we keep ethics at the heart of every business exchange?

I don’t know if you’ve heard the rumour

But we have power with our money to be a conscious consumer

We can buy our produce without all the plastic

It makes a big difference and it’s nothing too drastic

We can buy second-hand, we can buy things to last

We can give away some of the stuff we’ve amassed

We can refuse disposables, we can use our voice

We are all consumers, so we all have a choice

We can change the trajectory, because it is our

Choices that impact, we hold the power

To be the change, because little old me

Can change the whole course of history

If you think one person can't make a difference, you're wrong

When you live by example, your ripples are strong

So be the person who is the start

Of a human race which lives from the heart