Do you know the feeling, when you give a class, and suddenly a unique word pops out of your mouth without you ever planning or intending to use it? It could be a metaphor, an image, or even just a surprising verb that sneaks into the sentence from the back door of your consciousness?
For our students, those words create moments when students are awakened, they pay close attention, and remember what they have experienced even more. A teachers’ language is a powerful tool to make a student open up and learn. As teachers, we should appreciate and nurture this tool with intention; our language matters. The more accurate it is, and the more fresh with presence, the more effective our classes will be.
One of the best ways to sharpen our sensitivity to language is through writing. When we write, we are forced to pour “brain content” through a tiny, accurate filter hole. We have to commit to a statement word by word, and if an idea is blurry or vague in our mind, it will be immediately apparent on paper (or the screen).
We can divide writing into two different types:
Writing Inwards, as a means of self investigation, of examining an idea, and keeping it available for future revisitation. The actual stroll around a thought, attempting to capture an elusive experience, is great brain exercise. Inward writing also helps turn individual occurrences into a sequence, a process.
Later on, re-reading raw materials we have dealt with in the past is an incredibly valuable experience; it illuminates the path we have taken, but in retrospect. There is a wonderful gratification in the ability to read back and recognize junctions and lost places that got us stuck.
How good it would be to see our own footsteps, the changing paths we have chosen, and finding a way out…
This personal, experimental writing is not intended for outside viewing; the other kind is.
I call the other kind of writing, Writing Outwards. This is meant for others to read, be inspired from and learn. Although it could be labeled this way, I never think of it as “marketing.” It is simply an extension of my teaching in a written medium. I use posts as a continuation of classes – more thoughts, questions or conclusions that were evoked after my own practice or a group session.
Write exactly as you teach.
Surely, the Inwards writing can be developed and can eventually produce text that can transfer into Outwards writing but this takes time, perspective and of course, editing. Either way, there is a huge benefit when our writing is put out into the world: it will attract the people who are searching in the same direction, it will inspire others and it will help create a place in the world for what we see as important. Outward writing continues to teach our students outside of the studio, between classes.
Writing can definitely support you as a business owner and in this sense, yes, it is marketing. But it becomes greater than just marketing, because you will enjoy this type of creating. It directly derives from your internal, authentic journey, and even enhances it. The investigative text interprets abstract experiences and places them into a meaningful context.
As Unnata teachers, I think writing is even more necessary. We are all part of a pioneering experiment, a movement so young that it still lacks a language. Each one of us from distant countries who write and share experiences, enrich everyone else’s learning. Together we can establish a better common language on the benefits, challenges, and specifications of this practice.
Would you like to try?
If you’d like to try writing, there is one simple question that is useful to ask, which you can always go back to: HOW DOES IT FEEL?
Try describing a sensation. You can choose any detail. Start anywhere you’d like. It’s like meditation with a pencil in your hand. Let’s take Adho-mukha Svanasana as an example:
How does it feel now?
How did it feel yesterday?
When your hands are slightly closer to the legs?
When your knees are bent?
When we hang in Hip-hang?
How do you feel?
You get the idea. Internal experiences become tangible. Abstract material forms into a concrete image. Give your inner flow a shape; you’ll be surprised at the richness and truth in whatever comes up.
Listen closely, and let us hear, too.
About the Author
Talya Orbach has been teaching yoga since 2010, and fell in love with Unnata in 2017. Since then she is consistently working towards exposing yogis to this unique practice.
Talya owns Yog Studio for aerial yoga in the north of Israel.
She is an anatomy geek, a social activist and a mother of three.
“Aerial yoga makes my body feel alive, my mind feel curious, and my soul feel at home”.