I taught my very first yoga class this past Saturday. It was called a “feedback session” which means all the teacher trainees were invited as well as anyone else I wanted to invite. The concept is I teach an hour long slow flow class and the teacher trainees stay after and give me feedback. It was a wonderful process in spite of all the nervous energy that takes over the body when one undertakes something like that and I learned a couple interesting lessons from it.

First, I have been practicing yoga in the room I taught in for over 4 years now. To me, this room is sacred and when you are in it, the rules are you need to obey “noble silence” which means shut your mouth and stay out of other people’s business. There is rarely even whispers going on in that room except for if someone is trying to make room for someone else’s mat. My routine when I go to take classes is to go in, set up my mat, go to the back, change my clothes (I am almost always coming from work), do some talking in the tea room and when I am done and ready to be quiet, I go in and find my place on my mat and prepare to be present. So in the beginning of the class that I taught, none of my regular routine was happening and it kind of threw me off. There were 8 or 9 people in the class and getting them to lay down on their mat by a simple verbal cue was pretty easy. After working with breath for a few minutes it was time to start the class. I was almost paralyzed by the idea that I had to talk for the next 60 minutes in a room where everyone else was quiet and I had always been silent in for the past 4 years of my life. My lesson…I am a “rule-follower” almost to a fault. It was so funny to see the panic inside of me as I faced this 60 minutes of talking. But I did it and as the minutes slipped past, it became more and more comfortable.

Second, I am a vinyasa student and I was having to teach a slow flow class. The vinyasa classes that I am used to are a little, and sometimes a lot, faster pace than slow flow and some of the moves take a little, and sometimes a lot, more effort to transition in to and hold. I thought I was making a flow that would be great for the level of students I was working with. Apparently it was a little, or a lot, too hard! For 9 years of my life, I was an aerobics instructor and I taught so many types of classes, and even yoga, in a gym setting. During these classes, I was able to gage the participants by their body language and energy. One of the goals of yoga is to build up the capability of peacefully handling incredibly intense moments, both on the mat and out in real life. As my yoga class is progressing, all the participants were peacefully moving through the postures in what appeared grace and ease and to me, didn’t seem like they were working very hard….I had forgotten that is part of the whole point of yoga. So after class, some of the attendees were like “Were you trying to kill us?!?!?!” When I look back, it is a really obvious thing and I chuckle at my naivety. The lesson here is in yoga, or even as we walk down the street or around the grocery store, we have no idea what is going on inside of each person that we pass. One of the biggest lessons of yoga is to have compassion for others and extend loving kindness to all people in our lives. Since we have no idea what is going on inside other people, what better way to look at the world than from a place of loving kindness…we only get one chance.

Leave a Comment

Submit Comment

CommentLuv badge

3 Comments and Trackbacks

  • Posted by Jenn on May 03, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Awesome take on teaching for the first time! Isn't it funny how we can think they are feeling something completely different than they are? Nervous to start our real feedbacks – usually people start them after teacher training is over in our program, so I will need to remember this!

  • Posted by Dr. E on May 03, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Usually trainees at Ethos wait to do them until they are done with all the classes, but there were a couple gals from last session that started the trend and the rest of us jumped on and just went with it. I am glad to have one under my belt. 🙂

  • Posted by Gerri on May 04, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Wow, so powerful…Fantastic your reflection lead you to this revelation! peace