The Day I Trashed My Class Plans

July 28, 2017

Several years ago I had an experience that changed my teaching for good. I had been teaching Yoga for about three years, when one day I arrived to teach my class and realized I had left my lesson plan at home.

As a recovering Type-A personality, I always had a well thought-out sequence and a cleverly crafted class theme printed off ready for class. So needless to say, showing up ‘unprepared’ to teach my class caused a small amount of panic. My mind raced, hands sweaty, my breath shallow and rapid, I was in panic mode.

I sat down closed my eyes took a few deep breaths, to steady myself and focus. I reminded myself that I became a Yoga teacher to help heal the world. I hoped to create more peace one student at a time, so they could go out and spread that peace to their world. As long as I could guide them from that place and with intention how could it go wrong?

I opened my eyes and decided to take requests for the class. I did an opening circle and asked my students to let me know if there, were any tight or sore spots that needed extra love that day. As my students shared openly, an unfamiliar calm washed over me. It was like the wiser part of myself had taken over. I was no longer nervous and I knew everything was going to be fine.

I gave myself permission to teach from my heart instead of my head.

The sequence flowed together with little effort or thought and it was beautiful. After class, something unusual happened. My students were extra grateful and one after one told me it was the “best class ever”.

According to ‘In the new field of neurocardiology, for example, scientists have discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic nervous system—a network of nerves so functionally sophisticated as to earn the description of a ‘heart brain’. Containing over 40,000 neurons, this ‘little brain’ gives the heart the ability to independently sense, process information, make decisions, and even to demonstrate a type of learning and memory. In essence, it appears that the heart is truly an intelligent system.’

So it seems that heart centered teaching maybe the most intelligent choice after all! I thought I was teaching unprepared because I’d forgotten my lesson plan but in truth, I just needed to drop into the inner teacher that was already there within me.

Since that day, my inner teacher shows up in other ways while teaching. Sometimes, I will have an intuitive hit, that I should share something of my own life experience off the mat. Some big picture lesson gleaned from my own life (and hard knocks). Whenever I give myself permission to share those insights it always hits home with my students and is, “just what they needed to hear”.

Now the opening check-ins with my students are standard practice. Although I have many go-to themes I can work with, I almost never create a firm lesson plan. As long as I was attached to my lesson plan, I couldn’t truly be open to the subtle messages that were there all along. It wasn’t until I got out of my head, surrendered my plans and dropped into my heart and allowed my teaching to come from a place of service that I truly learned to teach.

Now I end all my classes asking my students to “Bow their head in humility to the wisdom within their own heart”, which serves as a reminder both to them as well as myself. By learning to drop in to the intelligent wisdom within my own heart, it has brought out the healer in me and when I teach from this place of intuition and service amazing things happen.


Nyk Danu lives in the enchanted city of Victoria on magical Vancouver island, where she teaches Yoga to those who are not human pretzels. Nyks’ classes are filled with Misfits, Underdogs, Rebels, introverts, Geeks and Bookworms.

When Nyk is not hanging out in Yoga studios You’ll find her expanding her personal tattoo collection. Or just as likely curled up at home with a cat on her lap watching Star Trek or immersed in a book.

You can learn more about Nyk and sign up for free Yoga videos on her website

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