Last week, my fellow yoga teacher-in-training Krista and I led our first class with four willing and able friends who were completely new to yoga. They were so new, in fact, that we brought mats for them because none of them owned one. It was such an honor to share yoga with them. When we finished our class, I went home on such a high. For one, we didn’t completely fall on our faces. It could have very well been a class where we left them in child’s pose for 5 minutes while we gathered our thoughts. A few stumbles here and there in communicating what we meant, but overall, the class went smoothly.
I watch in awe and wonder as my younger son is learning to stand and take his first steps. He’s been practicing a lot by cruising furniture and/or holding our hands. He’s coming up on 14 months old and has been mobile in one way or another for so long. He definitely has the core strength to hold himself up and the leg coordination and stability to walk. Perhaps he needs a bit more confidence in himself to let go and try alone. I think this is how Erinn must feel when she has us practice teach with each other and on friends. She’s been holding our hands up to this point and has been our mama, encouraging us to take those first steps on our own.
I know my yoga practice inside and out. I have learned from many wonderful teachers over the years, and I have a fairly strong understanding of the other non-asana-related limbs of yoga. I find when I can tap into my knowledge and experience, the words come easier. I’m sharing what I know and what I’ve experienced, and it becomes a genuine connection between me and my audience.
As I was riding my “teaching high” and letting it all soak in, I had a sudden realization. I have been teaching all along through my blog. I had intended this blog as simply a place to reflect and share experiences of my yoga practice, but isn’t that what teaching yoga (ALL of yoga, not just the poses) is really about? It’s not always the step-by-step tutorial of how to do a pose, although, there’s a bit of that now and then as well.
There are a million ways in to teaching yoga. In the west, we mostly think of yoga teachers as yet another fitness instructor. And perhaps the physical aspect of yoga is where it must begin for many of us. When we can get on our mats and do the work, it opens us up for the real learning. Practice and all is coming. – Pattabhi Jois. Guruji was on to something there.
Thank you, readers, for letting me share my yoga with you. And as I continue this path to becoming a yoga teacher on paper, I’ll do well to remember that I’ve had this teaching thing going on in other shapes and forms all along.