It’s been 9 weeks since I finished my yoga teacher training program. It feels like it hasn’t been so long since training on the one hand and on the other, it feels like it has been a really long time. Funny how time can do that to you, huh?
Currently, I’m teaching one class at week at a lovely studio in Prospect Heights and I’m on the sub list at another yoga studio and at a local gym (thanks Carly!). I’m in the midst of the audition process (formal and informal) at a couple of other studios.
The whole process of auditioning and finding teaching opportunities deserves its own post. Suffice it to say, it has involved a lot of pounding the pavement, showing face at studios and serendipity.
I’ve been mulling over in my head what I wanted to share with you about my experience teaching yoga so far. I wanted to create a nicely packaged post for you, full of lessons learned and meaningful insights (and why I think that it’s taken me so long to write this post). But I don’t have a neatly packaged post for you but I also think that’s the nature of teaching – things aren’t always nice and neat.
This, by far, has been the biggest lesson for me. Things don’t need to be that complicated. Remember when I was worried that I had put together too simple of a class for my teaching final? I’ve been learning that I need to pare things down even more. Once I have a solid structure, I can start to build back up.
There is so much that I could say about each pose, about alignment about yoga philosophy, about everything but I can’t. If I did, we would hold one pose for 15 minutes and I’m pretty sure that would guarantee that no one would come back again. Instead, I need to be really clear – before my class – what I want to share and what I want to try to teach that day.
Something will always go wrong.
From not being able to figure out how to work the radio at the first class I ever taught (so no music) to not being able to dim the lights for savasana to forgetting bits of my sequence to not articulating something clearly (and finding the whole class in a completely different pose than you wanted), something will inevitably go wrong.
I’m learning to not get attached to how I expect the class to go and to let go of those mistakes when they happen. It’s kind of like meditation – observe and let it go. I’ve been surprised at how easy this is for me to do in the middle of teaching. Thank goodness because otherwise I would completely freak out!
It’s not so hard.
Remembering my sequence hasn’t been as hard as I thought or expected it to be. I spent about a month putting together and getting comfortable with the sequence I taught for my teaching final. Now, I’ve put together a class the night before I have to teach. This is not to brag but more to share that I’ve become more comfortable and confident in my ability to put together a class and a sequence.
But it is still hard to put together a good class. It requires spending time on the mat myself – both playing around at home and taking classes from others who inspire me – and being really clear about what it is that I want to teach. It’s also really hard to teach mixed level classes and providing enough direction and attention to students at both ends of the spectrum.
It’s also hard to silence my inner critic. While I’ve been able to let go of things during class, as soon as class ends, I start obsessing about things that I could improve on. I also obsess about whether or not it was a good class or whether I’m a good teacher.
Honestly, part of the reason that I have put off writing this post is that I’ve been waiting for that feeling – that feeling of OMGthisisamazing or that I nailed it. I haven’t quite had that feeling yet. One the one hand, I have gotten great feedback and it has been a good experience so far, but on the other, my inner critic nags me.
I don’t want this post to sound like a cry for approval or affirmation. I just wanted to share my experience thus far. I know that this is an ongoing process – a journey, right? Finding my voice?
How do you silence your inner critic?
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