An Inspiration and Resource Guide for Teaching Yoga in 2017: What would love do now?

I’ll be honest. Teaching yoga in the days and weeks following the election was really challenging for me. The mood in my DC suburb of Takoma Park was bleak to say the least. Many of my clients work in the federal government and their lives would change dramatically with the new {hostile} administration. Some would even lose their jobs.

Like the rest of the country, my students and I were heart broken that a candidate that espoused a message of fear and division and hate could win an election. I moved through those first few weeks slowly and carefully. I did my best to show up with presence and care for all my students.

And this is what happens next.

2017 will ask us to be our best. As teachers, leaders and helpers we must be prepared to be supportive, kind, clear and ready to work. There is too much suffering and injustice for people with a spiritual practice to sit quietly on their cushion and hope for the best.

How can I be of the most service? This is something I have been asking myself every day.

On a very personal note, I’ll share what I am doing now as I figure out how I can best be of service outside of my work as a yoga teacher.  I am getting involved in my local SURJ chapter, donating time and money to Planned Parenthood and taking a big group of out-of-town girlfriends to the march this weekend. {Follow me here to see pictures!}

The teachings of union and presence and empathy have never mattered more. Our ability to share our work widely and skillfully is more important than ever. So how can we be our best?

For me, being the best teacher I can be means…

  • I am fully present for my students, so I can watch and listen with love and attention.
  • I help my students move through the world in a more embodied way and empower them to find the version of each pose that is ideal for them right now. {The Yoga of Discernment, baby.}
  • I do whatever is necessary to keep myself motivated, strong and educated.

And what does all that boil down to? My job {and yours} is to show up fully and behave as love herself.

My job is to ask myself, “What would love do now?” And then do that.

Notice I didn’t say my job was to know everything or to be perfect or to have created and memorized the ideal sequence. {None of those things are possible anyway!}

Still, the kind of presence and attention and support I want to offer my students, and I want you to offer your students, is an incredible amount of work.

How do we prepare ourselves for this job? Here are some things that are supporting me in being the best teacher I can be:

  • My daily spiritual practice is the foundation upon which everything else is built. For me, right now, this looks like:
    • A morning ritual that includes contemplative journaling and 20 minutes of meditation.
    • Prioritizing healthy food, movement and connection with loved ones.
    • Regular connection with my own teachers; attending Tara Brach’s Wednesday class as often as I can, meeting once a month with my teacher and friend Ethan Nichtern, and gobbling up everything Sara Avant Stover offers online.
  • Continued study means I am never bored and I am always growing as a teacher. I’ve got weekends with Jules Mitchell and Claudia Welch on the calendar this spring!
  • Engaging online in a skillful way that supports and inspires me, and doesn’t drain me has been imperative. The internet is full of amazing resources that aim to educate and elevate yoga teachers.

Let me recommend a few right here—–>

  • One of my favorite asana teachers of all time, Schuyler Grant, has a free 21 day video series running right now.  The Wanderlust 21 Day Yoga Challenge will send you a 20 minute video every day for 21 days. It will be a great way to see how a super experienced teacher breaks down a vinyasa practice for beginners! You can sign up right here.
  • I have a Facebook Group just for yoga teachers and I would love for you to be a part of it! Hanging out in the Elevate Facebook Group feels like hanging out with my smartest, most fun friends on lunch break during teacher training. How much fun is that??
  • My smarty-pants friend Ariana Rabinovitch is building a library of yoga and movement research explained in simple language, just for yoga teachers! You’ll be hearing more from Ariana and I this spring, but get on the list now, so you don’t miss any news about the Yoga and Movement Research database.
  • I’ve got a brand new video series kicking off on January 24th, that I offer as a resource and inspiration for yoga teachers. The videos were created by filming two private sessions with students whom I had never taught before! These videos are uncensored and will give you an in-depth look at the real and vulnerable aspects of private teaching that we all struggle with, but often don’t talk about. Sign up here to make sure you have access to the private, limited time video series.

I’ll just remind us all that…We can be more productive when our offerings come from an inner world that is healthy, well-developed, and full of love. We’ve got to work to keep ourselves inspired, motivated and strong!

What are you doing to keep yourself strong and inspired this year?

Remember, all you really have to do is ask yourself, “What would love do now?” and then go do that…

All my love,


10 Responses to “An Inspiration and Resource Guide for Teaching Yoga in 2017: What would love do now?”

  1. Amanda

    Wow. I don’t recall any political blog posts from you while this current {incredibly hostile} administration has been dropping bombs (over 21,000 in 2016 alone) on and terrorizing children with predator drones in 7 different countries for the past 8 years. Isn’t Ahimsa/nonviolence the first precept of Yoga? Do we only care about the “divisive” things people SAY in the political sphere, and not at all about the verified, criminally insane, dangerous, contemptible, psychopathic, predatory, and warmongering things people actually DO when they’re in office?
    Please excuse my somewhat verbally violent response when I say that, frankly, all this new “heartbreak” is incredibly selective, dissonant, and hypocritical.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Thanks Amanda. Your point is taken, and understood. I have always been politically engaged and active in my personal life, but you’re right, I rarely mention that publicly here. I would never try to argue that this outcoming administration has been perfect, or that horrible atrocities aren’t taking place every day, all over the world. The reason I bring up politics at all in this blog is because the change of administration has immediately and directly impacted many of my students and their jobs, and thus it impacted my teaching. I recognize my incredible personal privilege, as well as the privilege of most of my students, and everything I do and teach intends to be helpful and of service. Sending many blessings to you.

  2. Lindsey Lashley

    Thank you for this! As a teacher, my focus can so easily be 100% about anatomy, injuries, and sequencing. Sometimes I forget to factor in compassion and love, and THAT’S what separates a good teacher from a great one.

    My favorite quote from this blog: “We can be more productive when our offerings come from an inner world that is healthy, well-developed, and full of love.” I’ve been struggling to find a consistent, daily spiritual practice, and I think that’s at the heart of maintaining a strong, compassionate inner world. You’ve inspired me to make that a top priority again. Always thankful for your insights!

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are so so welcome. I love hearing your most important takeaway. If there is anyway I can support you in establishing a more regular daily spiritual practice, please let me know! <3

  3. diana

    Francesca, thank you for sharing this. Your words help me feel that there is a strong sense of community working through this together. And through that I feel supported. Yes, these are challenging political times that have shook many to their core and yes we have to take care. Thank you for sharing how you see this work moving forward.

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are really welcome Diana. We gotta move forward, one step at a time, with clarity and compassion. Thanks for being a part of the community here. <3

  4. Gracy

    Thank you for always helping me to see how our work as yoga teachers and healers can help in the bigger picture of what is happening in the world. It’s not easy to live with our eyes open but I truly think that’s why we have practices like yoga that give us strength and ease along the way. Thank you for being an ever-present guide!

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are so welcome Gracy! I feel the same way about you and your work in the world. We gotta stay close to each other and our practices right now. <3

  5. Amy Peterson

    Thank you for this. So helpful to hear how others are dealing and moving through this transition with love and grace and power. I was just introduced to Tara Brach’s work and am listening to her meditations daily!


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