EARTHrestore recap and why I love teaching workshops
This Sunday I taught workshop número dos, EARTHrestore: rest and recharge. This was all about maximum relaxation, and we started with a guided visualisation meditation, moved onto a short gentle flow to work out any tension and restlessness, before pairing up for an hour of Thai yoga massage. After a short break to make sure we were completely cool, we moved through a 45-minute yin/restorative practice (yin should always be practiced cold to avoid overstretching) before ending with a 20-minute yoga nidra relaxation. And of course, it wouldn’t be an EARTH workshop without a smattering of poetry throughout.
We once again offered a swag bag filled with amazing goodies from a handful of awesome UK businesses who are offering healthy, natural, quirky and in some cases, delicious products all with sustainability and ethical consumerism in mind. All of the businesses we partnered with are linked further down.
Workshops take a lot more planning than classes, take up more time to teach, require more marketing efforts and, if you’re offering gifts and goodies, research and liaison with businesses as well as fulfilling your marketing promises to them (blogs, stories, posts, videos etc.). So why do I still love teaching workshops so much?
I have the time to go deeper. Longer meditation, more time playing with arm balances, more time to assist, more time to answer questions and explain why we’re doing something, more of a chance to become completely immersed. As a student, this is a great experience, but as a teacher, whether it’s watching your students losing their shyness, trying out something new, having something click or just watching them as they finally let go during the meditative part of the practice, it is a gift.
I get to know my students better. Workshops engender a relaxed, informal and friendly atmosphere. They are interactive and everyone gets the opportunity to spend time getting to know each other, whether through partner work, speaking during breaks or mutual dread when you’re asked to do something you think is impossible. It’s such a playful and intimate experience which puts everyone at ease, including me as the teacher.
I get to practice things I don’t always practice. Even if the only training you have under your belt is a 200hr, there will always be little titbits of knowledge and techniques you rarely get to use in a class atmosphere, but a workshop is completely open to whatever you want. You can practice a different type of yoga (e.g. yin), you can practice chanting, singing, sound bowls, whatever. In this case I had the opportunity to practice Thai yoga massage and yoga nidra. And, I also get to practice speaking to a room full of people. I’m not talking about leading a group through a flow, but looking at a sea of staring faces and explaining who you are and what you and your offering are all about. It is an entirely different kettle of fish.
I get to teach in beautiful spaces. I have a weekly class in the same space, but teaching workshops gives me the opportunity to see and teach in the variety of beautiful studios across the city. I also get to know the studio owners and how they operate, get a feel for their audience and generally expose myself more to my local yoga community. There’s also something so satisfying about teaching in a studio you have practiced in. Being the one at the front and seeing the studio from a whole new perspective reminds me of how far I’ve come.
I learn about awesome local businesses. This is a huge perk of leading workshops. I know not everyone offers swag bags, but they are such a nice touch and since learning about how to incorporate them into my offerings at my training, I always make sure I offer one. Sure, it’s more work for me to find and pitch companies, especially when I need to make sure their messaging is aligned with my own, but it’s a win for everyone. Offering the bags helps to get people to book onto my workshop and I also find awesome UK businesses, many of whom I become a customer of myself. It’s a win for the participants because they are getting great value for money, with the bag often being worth what they paid for the workshop, and the businesses get exposure to the local community. Win-win-win.
There is absolutely no denying that workshops are much more work than classes, in terms of planning, logistics and marketing, as well as researching and liaising with businesses if you are planning to offer a swag bag, but the rewards are incredible, not just monetary but also in terms of your fulfilment as a teacher, honing your skills, getting to know your community and also the incredible sense of achievement at having pulled it off.
If you have been thinking about leading workshops but are being held back because you feel you aren’t ready, absolutely listen to your intuition but also recognise where your need to be perfect is holding you back. No workshop (or class) you teach will be perfect and the only way you will ever get better is by practicing.
A huge thank you to our wonderful swag bag partners who are bringing incredible products to their local communities without compromising on quality, health or sustainability. Heroes.
Graphyx At Graphyx, the mission is to bring original art to the forefront of everybody’s everyday living by making it affordable and sustainable. All the bags and shirts are made with green energy from 100% organic cotton, are 100% fair-trade, use 100% recycled or biodegradable paper prints and packaging and use eco-friendly water or vegetable-based inks. Follow at @graphyx_design.
Kombucha Kat All of Sam’s kombucha is raw and unpasteurised and made from vegan and certified organic ingredients, not to mention his eco brewery in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds is run on 100% renewable energy and all of their packaging is recycled and recyclable. Follow at @kombucha_kat.
Moksha Senses After treating her son’s severe eczema, Bobbi began to read about the long-term effects of using steroids, leading her to look at alternative therapies and giving her the idea for Moksha Senses. She sells a range of natural treatments, butters and oils and her vegan deodorant balms are moisturising and nourishing. Follow at @mokshasenses.
Nutcessity Mike started Nutcessity to bring delicious, natural, organic, vegan nut butters to the general public. Every jar is handmade by Mike in Warwick and they are all completely vegan, organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, high fibre and without added oil or sugar. Nutcessity is also a supporter of Frank Water, a Bristol-based water charity, and offers a recipe booklet with all proceeds going directly to Frank Water. Follow at @nutcessity.
Suneeta Cosmetics London Suneeta’s recipes are based on the ancient philosophy of Ayurveda, with her own original twist to make wholesome skincare products. All of her products are natural, vegan and homemade. Follow at @suneetacosmetics.
VENT for Change VENT is a Bristol based ethical stationery brand with a mission; to help children worldwide have access to the education they deserve. Proceeds from every VENT product sold go towards global education projects getting children back into school. All of VENT’s pens are made from recycled plastic. Follow at @ventforchange.