Helpful Tips to Transform Your Bio from Boring to Beneficial.
By Julia Lopez - ERYT500, YACEP, CPT-NCSF
Short, sweet, and relevant to the audience are hallmarks of a great bio. Then, why are so many boring bios floating out there? Misunderstanding what makes a bio's subject compelling is a primary issue. In this article you'll find a few quick fixes that will put your bio to work for you.
What's a Bio?A bio is an introduction that tells the reader what YOU can do for THEM. Essentially, a bio is a sales pitch.
Yes, Yogi, you are selling your services, and sales is an important component of what you do. Sales doesn't have to be painful as long as you know clearly what you provide, who it is for, and why they want it. But if you don't know who you are pitching to, or clearly understand what you provide, your bio may be doing more harm than good.
Along with clarity, another bio MUST is brevity. Most clients won’t read more than 4-5 sentences in a bio, and they likely don’t care very much about your extensive credentials.
So, what do they want to know?
What kills a bio?If short, sweet, and relevant are bio-makers, what techniques are secretly sabotaging you bio?
Here are some commonly used errors that may be the kiss of death for your bio:
Misunderstanding Your Audience
Who is reading your bio? If you can’t answer that fundamental question, it will be hard to make an effective introduction. Often yoga teachers write their bio almost like a CV, listing every single training they have taken and instructor they have studied with.
If your bio is meant for a client, then all of that additional information is truly not relevant. If your bio is meant for a potential employer, a resume detailing your education and experience, and video showcasing your talents may be more effective.
Remember, you are not writing this bio for other yoga teachers OR to compare yourself to other yoga teachers. Bios that seemingly ‘one-up’ other yoga teachers feel negative, and lack integrity.
There are more upstanding ways you highlight your specialties without tearing down others.
Too Much Name-Dropping
Your clients likely don’t know everyone in your yoga lineage by name, nor do they really care. Dropping a lot of names in your bio bolsters your bio with THEIR achievements instead of your own, and does little to establish your own expertise and trustworthiness.
Remember they are choosing whether or not to use YOUR services (not your teacher’s) and your bio should reflect what your clients should consider as your area of expertise. If you choose to use the name of a teacher be sure that 1) your teacher would approve of the mention, 2) select only the teachers that are most relevant or influential to what your clients receive and 3) the mention directly ties back to your unique offering.
Misusing and Jumping Between First, Second and Third Person
Unless your bio is read from your website or the employer specifically requests it, a bio should not be written in first person. First-person is best reserved for social media, newsletters and other self-directed outreach, where it will feel personal and engaging. When the bio is coming from an employer or contracted gig, the bio should read as an introduction.
In addition to differentiating your bio between your personal outreach, and an introduction made by an employer, stick to one tense. Jumping from first, second, and third person in a bio creates confusion.
Using the Same Bio for Every Gig
If you are leading a workshop on meditation at a yoga festival, it probably won't muster much confidence if your bio highlights your skills in sequencing and leading flow.
No. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you're hired. However, if you return to the first item in this list it's easy to understand why a few bios targeting specific audiences, or highlighting a specific aspect of your teaching or services might be useful. Start with a bio that you currently use and make small tweaks to customize it for a specific gig or service.
Now, Attract The Clients You're Meant to MeetThe practice of writing your bio, even something as short as four or five sentences, may actually cause you do to some soul searching. Concisely narrowing down who you are as a teacher, and why someone would want your services is an essential exercise in understanding what it is that you offer.
Once you understand clearly what makes you a remarkable instructor, the clients you are meant to have will more easily find you! In New Age circles it is sometimes called the 'Law of Attraction', but in the business world it's often called something else: branding. Knowing what makes a product compelling, who wants it, and why they should have it are critical in positioning any product, including yoga services, in the right light.
Above all, allow your personality to shine through, keep your energy moving in a positive, helpful direction, and watch more people flock to your classes and invest in your services.
Julia Lopez, founder of Julia Marie Yoga, Inc. and creator of Practice Everywhere™, illuminates the way for Yogis and Yoga-inspired Business Owners find more abundance, joy, and impact in their lives through yoga programs and training, Barefoot Business consulting, and international adventure.
Visit juliamarieyoga.com to attend a public class, retreat, or receive one-to-one services.
This is a foundational concept in the 'alignment' principles I teach in my 200hr training. Why do I use quotes around alignment? Because it's not about aligning yourself to any set of standards. Instead it's about arriving to discover what's possible. If you start with doubt, if you start rigid, no amount of anatomy cues are going to help.
Notice if you are entering poses expecting them to be out of your league, too hard, too painful? Are you cutting yourself off before the motion has even begun? Perhaps past injuries or traumas leave you doubtful and visualizing your success in a pose seems impossible. We all hold a lifetime of history and habits in our body. We all bring these assumptions to the mat.
Then instead of ignoring these assumptions, recognize them. Then meet yourself halfway and simply arrive willing, willing to see what happens.
You might surprise yourself :)
"I arrive willing."
Yesterday many of Americans, yogis and non-yogis alike, took part in a very Yogic practice - saluting the Sun. No they didn't all take a Sun Salutation... they stepped outside and looked up. I have to say donning optometrist-approved eyewear and observing the moon block the light of the sun , midday was in a word: awesome.
It got me thinking, "Why this fascination with the Sun? "
Amidst sheer fascination with the Sun's ability to still burn our eyeballs even though the moon is 100% in it's path, I also took note of the swirls of messaging around the Eclipse's signal of astrologically guided change. Certainly with a galactic event of this magnitude shifts would simply happen! It's universal energy after all, right?
But what if nothing happened for you? You might be feeling a little disappointed, confused, or maybe just hitting the 'B.S.' button. For you healthy skeptics, me too. I feel you. Manifestors are talking crazy ... right? Maybe.
But first let's take a small detour to another sun-related debate in Yoga.
There are a lot of opinions around how ancient the Yogic practice of Sun Salutations are. Some day they are as new as modern gymnastics. Others say they are based off of ancient pranam, devotion, to the closest understanding of Divine energy we had - the sun. Regardless of their origin we have since infused a lot of meaning into our Sun Salutations to the point of arguing about the best way to do them, the best time to take them, and even arguing about what to call each pose. When we take a step back it's easy to understand why Ancient traditions thought the Sun was pretty incredible and deserved a nod of gratitude - truly it still is pretty incredible! Our Sun is responsible for all energy on earth - including our own energy and ability to get out of bed, move our bodies and do good in the world. So the way I see it, when we break it down the basic meaning it is one in the same: it's our duty to get up, get moving, and do so with YOUR intention. In the quiet of our own practice, in the simple moments we find to move and breath, does it really matter whether or not we are Saluting the sun above or getting in tune with our own potential?
Perhaps you are not one to 'Vision Board' or make large statements of intention. But what if you shake your own universe quietly, in small ways, each time we decide to step onto the yoga mat. The change we seek may not happen in moonsweeping majesty but instead in the daily commitments we make to do the work, stick to our schedule, create and make regardless of outcome.
If all of the manifestation hype overwhelmed you and under-delivered, don't worry you're not alone. As humans we are meaning makers and cosmic events like the moon passing in front of the Sun seem like a really great time to make a lot of meaning. Unless instead it could simply be a reminder to pause, realize there is so much out there, and acknowledge your own Sun-infused potential. That might be reason enough to feel inspired to use each miraculous breath as a means to do something awesome.
Client 1: "I wish I could travel the world."
Client 2: "I want to travel the world."
Which person will actually do it?
In my experience planning yoga teacher training and yoga retreats a 'wish' is usually followed up with a word that may as well be a kiss of death to aspirations and desires...'but'. I wish I could exercise but work gets in the way. I wish I could take that trip but finances are tight right now. I'd love to find time to meditate in the morning but its hard to do with the kids.
The reality is that every person I've had in my teacher training, worked with one-on-one, or brought on a retreat also has a family that they love, also has financial concerns, also has responsibilities at work and home ... and ... they also move into action.
They have all made a point to invest in wants (not wishes) - unapologetically.
You are invited to do the same. Your wants matter.
Use your practice as a motivation to move toward action and put your dreams, your bucket list, your goals, your wellbeing, yourself first. It may not be easy, but it will always be worth it.
I love traveling to teach. But sometimes, it can be a real pain-in-the-butt.
Literally. My butt hurts.
Sitting on a plane (or sitting anywhere) can lock up your body in some pretty unpleasant ways. Short hammies. Short hip flexors. Lazy glutes. Tight pecs. An unnatural position for the lumbar spine. Ugh.
In the yoga world we operate with a few concepts that can give insight into how to alleviate arse pain. But it doesn't stop there. Being a yogi I have committed to looking at all 'pain' in my life as an opportunity to learn about myself (yeah, and I'm definitely not perfect at that - but I'm doing my best).
Complimentary opposites - yin and yang, sthira and sukha - give me insight into what I'm sensing and feeling in my life. This principle guides my understanding that everything needs to come into balance for harmony. In Yoga's sister science, Ayurveda, they say 'like attracts like' and 'opposites are medicine'. This is how we help guide the body, and mind, back to homeostasis.
But, in what measure? Well if I was sitting for 8 hours I know innately that the solution isn't to simply stand up for 8 hours.
Instead I can call upon what we know about the samskaras - learned conditions or patterns - for further insight. These are the subtle impressions made by past actions that keep creeping up again - sometimes in pleasant and sometimes in not-so-pleasant ways. Waking up to samskaras asks me to examine not only what the habit is but to dig a little deeper into the root cause. Why do I do what I do? What do I feel the way I feel?
In yoga, the examination of samskara is offered in a macro level context - over the course of our lifetime. What a daunting task it can be to examine personal idiosyncrasies and the impact on an entire life! WOOF! That's heavy. How would anyone even start developing awareness?
What if the practice of WAKING UP started with shorter - bite sized - cause and effect? For example looking at the unwanted effect of a stiff body, pain in the tush, and an uncomfortable low back from an airplane seat. What's the cause there? The 'why' for all the suffering when it comes to prolonged sitting is the amount of time you sit there. It's the duration of the immobility that causes the harm - not the seat in itself. In fact if you did repetitive seats for the same amount of time you'd be doing squats and call that exercise!
If you want a literal opportunity to relieve sitting pain - tune into my Anti-Airplane Flow - and enjoy a 30 minute practice that opens the hamstrings, hip flexors and chest, while putting strength back into the glutes and spinal muscles and brings overall fluidity back into the body.
If you want to apply this idea of micro-level cause and effect as a practice of the larger endeavor of unwinding the wheel of samskara start simple. Look at small pains in your life. Likewise, look at small victories in your life! Instead of taking those symptoms - those effects - at a surface level, be open to more inquiry. WHY is this happening? What is your role in that? Is it within your control? Is it permanent? What can you learn from it?
This is the practice. This is why we practice. Not for fancy poses or perfected alignment. We practice to WAKE UP. We practice to become more aware of what we are feeling, understand our role in that, and develop the capacity to stay with ourselves long enough to stay present.
800 Miles into a cross-country trek to a live in a new city racing to make it on time to close on our new home, the wheel on our Uhaul trailer blew out and it required commercial tools to replace. We were stuck. WTF.
Compassion is the closest single-word translation that we can get when considering 'Karuna', Yoga's word for compassion. But in my opinion it's a wonky fit. This sort of Karuna-compassion means something deeper.
It means to seek to diminish the suffering of others. No fixing. No hierarchy of who has their 'ish more together. No lectures. No patronizing. Just a genuine desire to lessen suffering - to bring ease in hopes to balance another's great effort.
Isn't that a relief? I mean, who wants to 'feel sorry' for someone, or themselves? That's junk compassion. That creates a separateness from the current situation. It puts a polarity on situations - makes them bad or good. Well situations are just situations and sometimes we don't have a lot of control over the outcome. We all are going to have days that are crummy, circumstances we'd rather not face, decisions we're not proud of. But it helps, very little, to have someone 'feel sorry' for you. What we need is a hand to hold. A listening ear. A present friend.
Let's start with ourselves. Let's model compassion with an understanding that there's nothing to fix. Life is life and when the going gets tough, the best way out it through, armored with a whole heap of compassion.
My husband hates going out for tapas - the Spanish snack-style dishes - and I totally understand his logic.
In his line of thinking Tapas as a meal choice with friends is inherently flawed. Tapas are designed to be a snack food that comes with drinks. Sounds fine, but not quite a meal. So when it blew up to be a thing that was trendy. everyone had to pretend to enjoy the invite to a meal with friends that would ultimately end in a late-night date with yesterday's leftovers. Sharing Tapas with friends is most often results in a secret war of politeness inviting their dining-mates to, 'please, have the last one." Secretly everyone is discreetly jockeying for their fair share of too-small, too-expensive plates. It smarts with dissatisfaction.
What does this have to do with yoga? Almost nothing. Except, in Yoga we also have the word Tapas, but it means something entirely different.
No. Tapas in Yoga does not refer to shared plate snacks. But sometimes it does mean finding graciousness during moments of challenge or disappointment.
Tapas, in the Yogic sense, translates as 'to burn' and it refers to a fiery discipline. This stick-to-it-ness comes in handy when we approach something that is otherwise uncomfortable, like a overpriced night out that leaves you hangry. Tapas is the willpower we cultivate to burn off limiting beliefs, bad attitudes, our desire to quit, and our urge to throw a temper tantrum when the going gets tough. Sometimes the urge to leave, to bail, is so great that sticking with a commitment feels like a standing in fire. Tapas invites us to remember that the only way out is through, and with no striving for a quick or even satisfying end, we can commit to the breath and the moment and the practice until we find a place where we begin to cool off and loosen the grip.
On the other side of the fire so often we find sweet, full-bellied satisfaction.
Days like today tickle my philosophical mind. Happy 4th of July!
I grew up talking history with my father. He would debate political issues with me, and listen to me, patiently, when I stumbled through half-baked ideas. As I moved into adulthood these debates became more and more heated, and there were times in my coming of age when I felt that there could be no common ground. Now, as an adult, we still enter lively debate, but I see that we have so much in common. He says that I am simply understanding more because I am older and have life experience.
Maybe that's true.
But, also, in the heart we both want for the same things, even if our ideas of how to achieve them seem wildly different.
Today is a beautiful day when I am able to celebrate the joy and honor it is to be a citizen of the United States of America. A guiding principle of this country is our shared belief that all people are created equal. We don't always do it perfectly, but it is something worth striving to find.
In yoga, it is the same. The word 'Yoga' itself which means 'to yoke' or more commonly 'union'. Seeing the sameness in our mind-body connection, as well as our sameness with others. I feel an added layer of intimacy when equal is viewed through the lens of 'same'. Recognizing that I am no different that others, and protecting this ideal, provides a pathway to Freedom. My freedom is contingent on the freedom of my neighbors because we are one in the same.
It would be naive to say that's easy. Most often it is the opposite. History has taught us that Freedom is hard to defend, and even the idea of being on the defensive causes us to armor our hearts for conflict.
But, not every day is made for fighting. When a fight it not the answer but the itchiness of separateness seems to create a widening gap between us and others, Yoga invites us to put down righteous arguments and seek a middle way which leads by example. The Yogic traditions also give us another word to guide us along this journey of recognizing sameness, Upeksha, or equanimity. This is a balanced approach to having a heartfelt approach to all beings, where our mind, and body may be stirred into action when we witness injustice, but our state of being is not so disrupted to the point that we lash out in rash or unwise ways. We are able to approach all experiences, all people, without preferences clouding our judgement or fear cupping our eyes into the retreat of wishing the present moment was anything other than it is. When the moment is not so dire that a fight is necessary, we are invited to moderate our response seeing disagreements with a cool, level head even while striving towards a more ideal future.
I find this wisdom so poignant today, of all days, when it would be easy to feel torn from neighbors and loved ones that might think differently about the current state of affairs. It can be hard to listen to an opposing view and trust that they have equal right to that view, and also that deep down that we are more alike than we are different.
What a worthwhile meditation! Let's stay awake to the common ground we can all find on this special holiday.
Have you ever been in a moment of deep concentration and then, as if the concentration part of you grew legs, you watch all of your focus walk right out of the room?.
Whether you're just beginning a meditation practice, or you've sustained a practice for a while now, the truth is that at time it can feel frustrating. With stimuli shot at us all the time gathering up a moment of quiet where we don't feel pulled in several different directions seems almost impossible.
I just received a text message. Did I send that email? Did I close the garage door? Is this cough something I should get checked out. My back itches. My foot went to sleep ... And on and on and on. Little thought trains can pull in just like that and then - bam! - it feels like you're 100% failing this whole meditation thing.
There's good news. The moment you noticed is significant. THAT'S THE MINDFUL MOMENT!
Believe it, or not, you're doing it. Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware. Aware of yourself. Aware of your surrounding. Noticing when your mind has wandered is a mindful act. It is the act of noticing. Once you've noticed, you've already returned.
There's no such thing as meditating perfectly! It's not a game and no one wins. Meditation and mindfulness are simply tools in our wellness toolbelt. The more comfortable we are in using them, the more effective they will become. But, just like like being really handy with a screwdriver, it doesn't really matter how well you can use the tool. What matters is what you're building with it.
So, if you've noticed that your focus drifted away, give yourself a HUGE round of applause. You just did it. You noticed, and in less time than it takes to blink your eye, you're already back.
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