First off, let me tell you that I have NO prior teaching experience whatsoever. I mean, I taught my brother's boy scout troop how to do the Roger Rabbit when I was 12, but I'm not going to count that ( even though it was awesome). I may have mentioned before that after I started yoga teacher training, I quickly acquired an entirely new respect for all yoga teachers everywhere. It is a lot of work! Creating sequences for your classes and then adjusting them if they don't fit, picking out the right music for the style of class, giving your students the most succinct cues, helping with proper assistance in the poses, keeping students safe, giving directions and walking around at the same time while not actually doing the poses yourself, not getting the right and left sides mixed up- for heaven's sake, it is crazy how much work, coordination, and effort goes in to this endeavor- not to mention, keeping classes fresh and new every time and speaking for an entire hour to an hour and a half pretty much non-stop!
OK... maybe it's because I don't have much teaching experience, I'm somewhat lazy and, even though I love being social, I don't really consider myself an extrovert or enjoy the thought of public speaking. Well, that's not true- I actually don't mind public speaking because I can use notes; using notes to teach a yoga class is practically unheard of and I imagine, heavily "frowned upon". I've never actually experienced a teacher using notes in class myself but it seems like it would definitely be no bueno.
I had my first teaching experience last week. I was more nervous than I think I've ever been in the history of my existence, but one of the greatest lessons teacher training has taught me is that doing the things that I fear the most usually produces the strongest and most satisfying sense of fulfillment and reward. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I want to do with my life, this is my passion. I can feel it in the depths of my pelvic floor, my root chakra, my uddiyana bandha- whatever you want to call it- I have a knowing like I've never had before that this... is... it! So am I going to let a little (ok maybe more than a little...a lot more) fear stop me? HELL NO!!!
I prepared as best I could, said a little prayer before the class, then I went in there and did my thing. Time flew by like I had never experienced before, I could not believe when I looked up at the clock, that an hour had passed and we were almost done! After class, the students did not rush up and regale me with how amazing my teaching was and say that it had changed their lives forever (as I had secretly fantasized about in the deep recesses of my colorful imagination) but I did get some good feedback- some very positive feedback actually. One person also told me that I sounded like I was nervous...which I was. Ok- I can work on that, but the best realization I received from the overall experience was that I didn't have to have the positive feedback to feel ok about how I taught. I knew in my heart I did the best I could and I felt great about it. It is my hope that the students enjoyed the class and left feeling more centered, calm, and relaxed, but ultimately- I have no control over their experience. All I can do is be the best teacher I possibly can and attempt to relay my love, appreciation, and knowledge of Yoga to others in the most effective way possible for them. It's not about me at all actually, it's about helping the students have an experience with Yoga that will ultimately bring them closer to their true selves. After class was over, I felt like I was walking on sunshine, floating on marshmallow clouds and riding a pink unicorn in a glitter-filled sky (their goes the ole imagination again) and all I could think about was how I could not wait to do it again!!! Finally... finally, after years and years of searching and wondering and waiting, I feel like I'm doing what I was born to do. Let the journey continue...