A few days ago, I taught a section of a 60-minute class and also provided hands on adjustments (before and during my teaching) to 30 of my fellow trainees in the hot room.
The pressure was on (a pressure I placed on myself)…I wanted to project my voice and remember all of the details discussed in class. My evaluator was also someone I knew and someone I highly respect from back home, so initially, I was pretty anxious. What was she going to think of my teaching style? I paid attention to my breath, observed my thoughts, and felt my stomach churning. I knew I had 2 options: 1) I could channel my anxiety (while it was low enough) into my teaching and conquer my fear; or 2) let the fear take complete control of me. I really only had one option. I took deep breaths as I laid down in the first savasana of class, my attempt to trigger a parasympathetic response in my body.
I was trembling when I got up to do hands on adjustments. Walking around these actively engaged, yet fatigued, bodies reminded me that in another 12 minutes it would be my turn to teach. I could feel and see my peers responding to my anxiety as I circulated in the room. I didn’t want to transfer this uneasiness and lack of confidence into their practice. I closed my eyes, grounded my feet and focused my mind on the breath, my peer’s instruction, and the postures around me.
A few moments later, I unclasped my sweaty hands, brought my arms along side my body and with a proud chest began to teach.
I taught from a place of love – the love for a practice that has brought a sense of peace, self-acceptance, and joy into my life. It was exciting! I wanted to share my own experience of each posture, what it could be! My teacher was right, the knowledge was in the bodies I was watching and within every cell of my body. I wanted my peers to find ease in these asanas. I was amazed at how the words just flowed from my lips.
I love teaching yoga. It’s different from lecturing 300 students or facilitating small group learning about nursing theory. The teaching for me meant being authentic (my true self); something I hope to carry forward into other teaching/learning environments.
Walking around, observing focused breath with movement, and being a guide to others is an incredible privilege!