Get Smart with Noelle Connolly
Leader, mentor, champion of new teachers, Noelle Connolly's whip-sharp sequencing and dry-as-bones humour has informed a new wave of yoga practitioners who show up religiously to defy the laws of gravity and worship at the altar of breath. We caught up with Noelle in the midst of preparations for her upcoming Super Sequencing training at Sydney’s BodyMindLife, to find out how she stays sharp, inspired and continues to create such incredible classes.
What were you like as a baby teacher?
“Crazy! I was way too excited and wanted to put everything in one class. Now I try to pick a concept that works with the asana and layer it through the sequence in a way that is digestible for the students.”
How do you plan your classes?
“My favourite way to sequence is by family of asana – backbends, twists, arm balances – or by picking a shape like bow or triangle and threading it through the whole class.”
What makes a really great sequence?
Good planning. You can see when a teacher has really thought about the krama of the poses, how they fit together and how they progress. It doesn’t have to be fancy but it has to make sense.”
When we started teaching we really struggled to remember our class plans. You gave us an effective technique to help them stick. Can you tell us about that?
“Think, write, practice, visualise – this really works for me. I picture the class moving through the flow. I never bring a book in with me. I make a plan but once I walk through the doors I’m 100% there with the students, and adapt my plan to what they need in the moment.”
How do you stay fresh and inspired?
“I go to a lot of classes and I pay attention. I see what is being taught and what isn’t, and try to address that so it feeds back into the community. Lately I’ve been focused on the foundational movements, going back to basic poses and making people hold them so they understand how to go deeper.”
What makes a smart teacher?
“The best teachers are always the best students. When a teacher makes the shift from being self-focused to focusing on their students – that’s when their intelligence grows.”
Who are some of the teachers who inspire your practice?
"Simon Park. When I first started with him he had the strength of Dharma Mittra and the fluidity of Shiva Rea. Now Maty Ezraty, because she’s reignited my love of the foundational movements."
Three top tips for new teachers?
1. Keep it simple
2. Keep practising
3. Try not to take yourself too seriously
Note: Catch Noelle's Super Sequencing training at Sydney’s BodyMindLife Surry Hills from August 5, 2017.