Mindfulness meditation and yoga go hand in hand. Both are practices that can help us tune into the present moment – to sync up with the reality of our experience. While these two practices are often taught separately, they can be effortlessly integrated. Guided meditation scripts for yoga teachers can support this intertwining.
In this overview of guided meditation scripts for yoga teachers, we will take a look at:
What Mindfulness and Yoga Have In Common
It would not be a stretch to pair mindfulness with your yoga teachings. In fact, mindfulness and yoga have a lot in common. Mindfulness is a practice or state of paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment – without expectation and without trying to ‘be’ anything or to ‘go’ anywhere. It is about being right where we are, as we are.
Similarly, yoga is not about going anywhere or achieving anything. In Sanskrit, the term yoga means ‘to unite’ and so the practice is about finding union between mind, body, and spirit. Yogi and mystic Sadghuru states that yoga also means: “that which brings you to reality.” He continues:
Yoga means to move towards an experiential reality where one knows the ultimate nature of the existence, the way it is made.
These definitions of mindfulness and yoga reveal a common thread beneath the surface of both practices. While yoga might appear to be a physical exercise and mindfulness an inner or mental one, both are actually about being present with reality. Whether seated in formal meditation or moving through a sequence of poses, the quality of our attention can enhance our present moment experience.
The Benefits of Mindfulness In Yoga
Bringing mindfulness to your yoga teachings is a wonderful way to enhance your offerings. For the purposes of this article, please note that when we refer to yoga we are referring to the third limb of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. The third limb is asana practice or posture, which is what we often think of when we hear the word ‘yoga’. However, as yoga teachers know, yoga involves much more than this. It includes moral disciplines, positive duties, pranayama (breathing techniques), and more.
If you are a yoga asana teacher, consider some of the benefits of teaching mindfulness in your classes:
Mindfulness can enhance self-awareness.
First, mindfulness is a wonderful practice for increasing awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. In yoga asana practice, it can help us to tune into the needs of our body and to non-judgmentally recognize what is happening in our thinking mind.
Mindfulness can increase concentration.
Furthermore, mindfulness can enhance our capacity to pay attention – to focus – on what is happening in the present moment. Therefore, mindfulness can support your students in being fully engaged in the asana practice that you are leading. As your students are able to focus more, they may find that they benefit more from the session.
Mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Furthermore, many studies indicate that mindfulness can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Given how prevalent these experiences can be, it is likely that at least one person in your yoga sessions is struggling in one of these ways. By providing them with extra tools for non-judgmentally minding their experience, they may find that their practice is enhanced.
Mindfulness can enhance the depth of your teachings.
Additionally, mindfulness in yoga can help your students to move deeper into their practice. Tied in with the increase in self-awareness, mindfulness can lead to insights or self-discoveries that we might not otherwise have had. By supporting your students in staying present throughout the practice, you are supporting them in deepening their practice.
Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.
- Rolf Gates -
How to Teach Mindfulness In Yoga Classes
If you are curious about how to teach mindfulness in your yoga sessions, consider first that mindfulness does not need to ‘look’ a certain way. Furthermore, there are countless opportunities in any class to help your students attune to the present moment. Consider the following key ‘teaching moments’ that are prime opportunities for teaching mindfulness or leading meditation:
Share a mindful intention at the start of class.
First, you can weave mindfulness into your yoga class right from the beginning. Consider inviting your students to set an intention to simply be present with the unfolding moment. Remind them that there is no one they need to be and nothing they need to achieve. They can simply be ‘here’. Alternatively, you might open the class with a brief guided mindfulness meditation to help affirm that intention.
Use each pose as an opportunity to teach mindfulness.
You can also invite students to give each pose their full awareness. Invite them to notice their breath or their physical body as they hold each posture. What is their breath like in this pose? What physical sensations are they aware of? Encourage curiosity and a beginner’s mind, letting them know that it does not matter how their pose ‘looks’; it is more about how they show up for it.
Use each transition as an opportunity to teach mindfulness.
Transitions are another opportunity to bring mindfulness to yoga. Often, we make transitions quickly or without curious awareness. Invite your students to notice without judgment how they move from one pose into another. Encourage them to notice if they can move a bit slower or with greater care.
Teach mindfulness at the end of class during the final phase of rest.
Lastly, consider the opportunity you have at the end of class to inspire mindfulness. If your students are in savasana (corpse pose), you might lead them through a guided mindfulness meditation to help them attune more fully to their experience. Mindful breathing or a body scan practice are great options for this stage of a yoga class.
While these are a few key moments to integrate mindfulness into your teachings, keep your mind and eyes open for teaching opportunities that spontaneously arise. Also, be considerate of the fact that mindfulness can sometimes stir trauma. Familiarize yourself with trauma-sensitive mindfulness practices to ensure you have the tools to teach safely and to navigate whatever might arise.
Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.
- B.K.S. Iyengar -
7 Guided Meditation Scripts for Yoga Teachers
In your yoga classes, there will be opportunities for formal mindfulness practice (i.e. guided meditation) and less formal mindfulness teachings (i.e. gentle reminders during poses). If you would like to lead a guided meditation at the beginning or end of your session, consider the following scripts as inspiration. Alternatively, you can share some of the concepts within these scripts informally throughout a session.
Modify these scripts as suits your natural voice and the needs of your students. If you are new to using guided meditation scripts in your teachings, download our free guide on how to lead meditation with confidence and ease using guided meditation scripts.
In many yoga practices, there is already an invitation to bring awareness to the breath. Some yoga teachings also synchronize the breath with movement. This guided meditation script is a gentle introduction to breath awareness and may be well-suited for the start of class.
For anyone who has practiced yoga or meditation, it is obvious that the mind has a tendency to wander. This script likens thoughts to snowflakes, helping listeners to observe rather than attach to what moves through the mind. Use this script in a formal way or sprinkle its key concepts throughout your class.
Another practice that can be led during a yoga class is the body scan practice. This meditation script is well-suited for the end of class. Think of it as a way of deepening body awareness during the final resting phase.
For a twist on the classic body scan, consider the body scan practice for gratitude. This practice is well-suited for yoga as it invites us to notice the blessing of our body – the body that carries us through practice. As with the basic body scan practice, this is a nice addition to savasana pose at the end of class.
Furthermore, consider this script on ‘simply stopping’ to help your students set everything else aside and simply ‘be’ in the class they’ve arrived at. Simply stopping is a great way to check in with where we actually are at present. This script can be used at the beginning of a class or anytime during a practice.
Another breathing script, this one invites us to imagine that the whole body is breathing. This is a unique breathing concept that can help to settle the mind as we tune into the fullness of the body. Consider starting or ending your yoga class with a few whole body breaths.
Lastly, this meditation script can support your students in cultivating open, non-judgmental awareness. It can help them to acknowledge their experience without becoming attached to specific thoughts. Ensure that you remind your students that acknowledging and accepting what arises does not mean we push through pain. Your students should know that they are always empowered to listen to their body and make adjustments as needed.
Here and now is where yoga begins.
- Yoga Sutras -
Helpful Tips for Reading Scripts In Class
Before you begin using mindfulness scripts in your yoga classes, consider the following best practices for meditation script reading. These will help to ensure that the meditations you lead are appropriate and authentic.
Always read through your chosen script a couple of times prior to the class.
Familiarizing yourself with your chosen script is important for ensuring that the meditation is suitable for your audience. It can also help to increase confidence and ease when reading the script.
Make modifications to suit your context and students.
Additionally, remember that you can make as many modifications to guided meditation scripts as needed to suit the context you are in (in this case, a yoga class) and the students in that class. For instance, you might add extra reminders to honor one’s body or to practice self-compassion. Or, you might modify the length of pauses.
Adjust language to ensure that it suits your authentic voice.
Finally, make sure that the language of the script suits your own voice. You want to ensure that you are conveying authenticity in your teachings. This enhances your credibility amongst students and will also help you to feel more at ease when leading a meditation.
As a yoga teacher, you may already be weaving mindfulness and meditation into your sessions with students. Consider this resource as an extra prompt for enhancing your teachings in this way. Remember that mindfulness meditation and yoga naturally pair well together – and that each breath and each movement is as good an opportunity as any to mindfully tune in.