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Book Review: “Teaching People, not Poses.” by Jay Fields.


Jay Fields who has been teaching yoga for over 14 years has written a book for yoga teachers: 12 principles for teaching yoga with integrity.


When I got this little handbook in the post in early January, I was so excited to get into it as it wasn’t your usual ‘yoga book’, but there were so many yoga events going on in February and March that I have only recently had a chance to sit down properly with a cup of tea and explore what it is all about. This is a very innovative little handguide for yoga teachers. As most of us know there are hundreds of different books on yoga out there, all on different yoga styles, postures and meditation. However, there are very few books that cover some very pertinent topics that need to be addressed when teaching yoga in the modern age.


Jay introduces her 12 principles in a light hearted and fun way, giving examples of her own experience, the good and the bad, the mistakes that she and other teachers have made over the years and how to go about becoming more confident in who you are when you teach. She doesn’t presume to have all the answers or makes you feel that these are 12 principles that all teachers MUST adhere to, she just makes suggestions of things to consider and to be aware of when teaching.


So unlike a traditional asana book where we are told how to do the asana, legs this far apart, extend from here, contract this, open that. etc. Jay suggests we look at the principles and see if we agree with them, if they work for us in our situation and how they work for us. So for example, her first principle is “Be Yourself”, so how do you incorporate this into your teaching, are you one person on the mat and a different person off the mat, and if yes, why? So she makes us question the way we teach and interact with our students.


When you have a moment think and contemplate the following 12 principles that she covers: Be yourself; Practice; Show your vulnerability and your expertise; Teach from your own experience;If you don’t know, say you don’t know; Stay in your body; Don’t take it all so seriously; Remember that your students are people; Learn anatomy; Plan enough so that you can be spontaneous; Remember who and what supports you; and Don’t try to please everyone.


Some may seem logical, some may sound a little strange and some may go completely against the way your system of yoga has taught you. The nice thing about this handbook is that Jay guides you through her experience and reasoning as to why the 12 principles are vital and play such a big role in being a strong, honest and compassionate yoga teacher in today’s modern world.


A nice, quick and easy, fun read for teachers and teacher trainers.


Many thanks to Jay for sharing her knowledge and love of yoga.





For more information about Jay and her book, be sure to visit her cool website – grace and grit, by clicking here. She has also just recently made the link for the teleseries that corresponds with the book live. So check that out as well.

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  1. Thanks for the great review, Nina! I hope your readers enjoy my book, and that it helps them to find more confidence–and fun–in their teaching. I’d love to have teachers from Africa join in on the live conversation that we’ll be having about these topics during the teleseries that begins on June 11–please join in!

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