By Ingrid Baquero @ingridsolbaquero

Storytelling is a powerful tool to engage the heart. 

During the Sedona Yoga Festival this past April, I had the pleasure to sit in and learn from Rachel Scott, yoga teacher trainer and professional instructional designer, through “The Art of Theming,” workshop. 

In yoga, some teachers practice opening an emotional connection through dharma talk, centering students through a universal theme before the journey unfolds on the mat. The practice of dharma talk allows students to elevate their awareness and movement with a personal intention based on the theme provided by the teacher. 

Rachel shares that, “Theming provides a ‘why’ for the ‘what’, which then informs the ‘how’. It provides a pathway to bring heartfelt philosophy into the physical body, and provides us with a tangible way to live our yoga – both on and off the mat.” 

Weaving a theme into class might feel overwhelming, but if we take time to reflect as teachers, our everyday experiences can become relatable learnings to share with others, awakening the Shakti energy in our students beyond just the physical asana practice. 

Rachel’s workshop provided a helpful process with questions to guide teachers on theming and inspiring the heart. Here’s what we learned to create a positive ripple effect through sharing our own experiences. 

The Story: What’s your story? What is life teaching you right now? Reflect on a recent experience that taught you something. Share your short story, and make sure it has a relatable context for others. It must be a resolved experience. Very important! Our story is to be of service for others for positive learning. 

The “AHA,” moment from an “I,” standpoint:  What did I learn from this experience? Be specific on your theme. Some examples: Be Present. Listen to the Heart. Accept Surrender. 

The “Find the Light,” from a “We,” perspective: How is my reflection a universal truth learning that can apply to all? We all go through similar experiences that make this theme relatable. What should we keep in mind?

The Application & Tools: How can this theme be expressed through language, mudras, poses throughout the physical or philosophical practice? Create a theme toolbox.  

The Close: Reiterate your theme with a closing statement. Could be a quote, a gesture, or a closing mediation that channels your theme. 

Overall, theming is a creative and meaningful way to connect with your students. 

Rachel is launching several “Summer School” opportunities. Check out her 4-month long Sequencing Mentorship, the 60-Hour Program, Integral Anatomy for Yogis, or her full 300 hour YTT.  To find out more, check her website and follow her on IG @rachelscottyoga.

Happy weaving!