It has happened. I’ve taught my first 15 minutes of a real yoga class (outside the comfort zone of my fellow trainees) today. I mumbled, forgot to breathe, relied on notes too much, missed modification cues, was lost for a moment and probably missed other things I don’t even know. And…… it was wonderful! All my mistakes were loud and aggressive in my head but the experienced yogis in the studio graciously overlooked my inner panic. For a moment during a chaturanga, it occurred to me that I was sharing something I so enjoy with others. That moment made it all worth it. I could feel our energy collectively rise as we progressed through the sun salutations.
The conversion from practicing yoga to practicing yoga AND teaching yoga is challenging!
- During practice, I focus inward. It seems intrusive to be looking at others when teaching. I feel like a student spying on my fellow yogis.
- When to demo and move with the class and when to stop, observe, talk and notice the class? I have yet to find a good rhythm.
- The balance between cueing and silence is another skill I need to work on.
- Inflection of voice to convey calmness and energy when appropriate is yet another issue.
Despite this self-critique, I’ve grown and learned so much! So thankful that I’m not asking how do you get into a twisted extended side angle [parivttri parsvakonasana]? or what is a sun salutation?, or how do you breathe in a twist? why breathe with movement? Is chaturanga a movement or a pose? What does a neutral spine mean? Only a few weeks ago, I would’ve asked these questions and so many more.
After I deliver food to the table, I eagerly notice the reactions: who jumped to serve themselves, who had seconds, who moved the food around the plate, who picked ingredients out, who got more to drink, who was quiet in her enjoyment, who was adding condiments etc. It is time for me to focus on my fellow yogis to watch and notice as they move and breathe to my cues. Teaching yoga is a new relationship, like any other, full of happy anticipations and nervous anxieties. I learned today that the beauty of people moving and breathing together is so00000 much better than my crazy inner monolog. I thought through teaching I would help others, turns out they are helping me just as much, if not more. Cue a humble warrior pose……..
Hosting and witnessing the magic of shared breath is the privilege of a yoga teacher.
Thank you, Debra, for sharing your class with me.