beginning yoga teacher


Jade, the owner of the yoga studio I frequent and my teacher, asked me if I would take her Wednesday drop-in class this week.

I hesitated not.

This coming weekend will be my final teacher training session. Tests, demo teaching, Sutra presentations – the works. Teaching for real was just the thing I needed to prepare.

Over the course of training weekends, we practice teach on each other. It’s not the same as having real students and reminds me of practicing on my fellow students back in university. During the run up to student teaching (I was an English major), we’d craft lessons that we’d present to each other as though we were actual kids in a classroom.

Yes, that’s just as empty of substance as it sounds.

In yoga training, practice teacher of other yoga teachers usually devolves into workshopping as we pull poses apart and share our perspectives with each other. Not that this isn’t valuable. It has value – just not as a way to gain teaching experience for the “real” world.

Yoga studios are so not the real world.

The drop-in class is 45 minutes of what is basically an abbreviated Ashtanga practice. Surya A and B, Standing, a wee bit of seated, maybe Bridge, possibly a twist or two and Savasana.

I started on time and ended on time. Forgot to start Surya B in Utkatasana the first time and got turned around on my left vs right a couple of times, but no one fell over, everyone sweated (people who come to Ashtanga expect sweat in an oddly Bikram sort of way) and at the end, some were smiling and everyone said “thank you”.

There was an older woman, who’d never been to the class before – and who only studied Hatha previously – who might not come back.

But otherwise?

Great success.

Why?

I was teaching. Like teaching for real. I didn’t hesitate. It felt homey and I slipped right into the role as though it was crafted just for me.

But I am a teacher and always have been and that’s a hard instinct to put aside. It was only a matter of time before I found my way back to it.

I don’t know that it prepared me in any way for this weekend’s testing. I feel over-full of yoga at the moment and am not certain I can access anything specifically or consciously, but I am not worried about whether or not I am a yoga teacher.

The photo is urdhva dhanurasana or wheel pose. I totally pulled my left levator muscle and irritated the hell out of my trapezoid at the same time coming up into that earlier in the week. I hurt as I demo’d in class despite having gotten there 40 mins early to warm up. Consequently, I won’t be doing the arm balance practice on Friday – which I could use because my arm balances suck (a very un-yoga but entirely accurate, in my case, term). But, I was psyched to get up into the pose on my own. I haven’t come up into a wheel since I was ten – at least.