281: Yoga Teaching Tips with Gabrielle Harris281: Yoga Teaching Tips with Gabrielle Harris

Whether you’re fresh out of a yoga teacher training or have been teaching yoga for years, there is always something new to learn about becoming a better teacher. Gabrielle Harris shares actionable tips for yoga teachers that you can start implementing in your classes and using right away.

Gabrielle describes herself as a writer at heart and a yogi in mind and body. Her aim is to inspire students and teachers from all disciplines to keep falling in love with yoga each new day. Gabrielle has over 1000 hours of training in various disciplines and traditions, and through her written work and yoga classes reminds us to start living a full life through the toolbox of yoga. She is also the author of The Language of Yin and The Inspired Yoga Teacher.

Gabrielle talks about her journey in writing these two books, how to teach yoga to beginners, and why language is so important and powerful in yoga. Gabrielle also shares her thoughts on what makes a good yoga teacher and why our job is to watch, listen and observe, rather than centering ourselves in our teaching. She offers some tips on the different types of cues we might use, how to practice nonviolent communication, and encourages us to reflect on our responsibility as yoga teachers.

Key Takeaways:

[0:00] Shannon addresses the recent US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

[2:30] This episode is also sponsored by the Accessible Yoga Continuing Education Program.

[5:58] Shannon shares one of the resources she has been learning from – Buffy on CBC.

[9:06] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Gabrielle Harris.

[12:31] What does Gabrielle do and who does she do it for?

[13:11] Gabrielle shares more about the two books she has written.

[14:24] What has helped Gabrielle get through the long process of writing books and teaching yoga?

“It is much more difficult to be precise and concise and essential.” ~ Gabrielle Harris

[15:26] Gabrielle has teaching experience outside of yoga. She explains how that has shaped how she teaches yoga.

[18:07] How can yoga teachers cut out the fluff and get to the very essential parts of yoga when teaching beginners?

“If you want to know what the essence of what you’re trying to teach is, you need to go back to what your intention is for that class.” ~ Gabrielle Harris

[19:53] How does Gabrielle apply what she learned in teaching a language to a yoga teacher training?

[23:15] It can be tempting to try to fill space with words, but it is important to be intentional instead.

[25:14] How can we practice self-editing?

[27:05] Why do we often feel the need to fill silence with words?

[30:02] As yoga teachers, sharing parts of your life can be very powerful, but only under certain circumstances. It can be useful to become the listener instead.

[33:22] What are some things that can help improve our teaching technique?

[35:43] Timing and pace are also very important for a yoga class.

[38:37] Shannon pops in with an update about OfferingTree, sponsor of the podcast.

[41:30] How can yoga teachers manage the timing of their flow and sequence?

[44:03] Gabrielle shares some tips around different types of cues you can give in a yoga class and examples of what that may look like.

“There are different types of cueing and there’s a place for all of them.” ~ Gabrielle Harris

[49:44] Using questions in teaching is a great technique to center the students instead of the teacher.

[52:15] How does Gabrielle handle questions from students who ask where they should be feeling a pose or how to be experiencing a movement?

[56:21] Gabrielle shares some thoughts around the responsibility we have as yoga teachers.

[59:58] What does Gabrielle wish she had known as a newer teacher?

“I want the teachers out there to assume that everything that we’re saying, everything that we do in a yoga class has a propensity to change or to harm or to heal.” ~ Gabrielle Harris

[61:04] Find out more about Gabrielle and her work by checking out her work and the links below.

[62:46] You can win a copy of one of Gabrielle’s books!

[65:27] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from this interview with Gabrielle.


Gratitude to our Sponsors, OfferingTree and Accessible Yoga Continuing Education Program.

OfferingTree Logo

Accessible Yoga Association Logo