I’ve been finding it tough. I’m a new teacher. I was never an advanced yoga practitioner. I’m kinda shit if I’m honest.
When I was subbing classes at the gym for a friend I was enjoying the classes, but when a spot opened up for a regular class that is when my confidence unravelled. What the hell was I thinking! I can barely do a backbend myself and here I am in front of 25 people trying to act the part of a yoga teacher. So much responsibility. Each class a few people would say nice things to me and I felt good, but then the other teacher would pass on some feedback from the regulars. No one said anything nasty, it was simply comments on my style, which is vinyasa but very much on the yin side of the continuum. These happy fit gym goers want more yang, power vinyasa, like the other teacher.
So I madly googled stronger sequences and tried different things, then some people would walk out, or comment I was straying too far away from the essentials beginner sequences they liked and that after a busy work week they wanted to switch off and relax with a predictable flow. How could I please everyone?
I was confused and felt I had lost my authenticity. What was I even doing this for?
Another blow to my confidence was a few small but significant work pressures which forced me back into ‘serious career mode’ when for the last 6 months I’ve been enjoying lots freedom and the bliss of a non-serious work position and dreams of teaching more yoga. Nothing was expressly said but I understood I needed to knuckle down and get more serious if I wanted to keep working where I enjoy working.
Back to yoga class. I decided to teach how I liked to practice and tried to be me, not me acting a role. Gentle vinyasa, lots of focus on the breath, longer held yin poses. I felt happy and again some people gave positive thanks after class. One person wanted to pass on more than a smile. She commented how it was obvious I was a new teacher, but that she’d noticed improvement in the last few weeks (I had increased my home practice so that must have shown). She thought I kept them in child pose for far too long when she wanted to keep moving. She wanted the challenging poses like side plank held longer. She was very open and nice and I appreciate this feedback. I explained about yin yoga and how I also teach restorative so she could see where I was coming from. We laughed and agreed that maybe she could slow down a little in life, but I could use some more fire and challenge myself. I thought I was cool with this conversation but it kept replaying in my head: “you’re a shit yoga teacher” “I’m shit” “who do I think I am subjecting the nice public with my incompetence” “shit shit shit” “why don’t you go back to boring office drone work, loser”.
I wanted to throw it in. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I had 2 weeks off. 1 day was planned (karate camp) and I came down with a bad cold the next week. I haven’t been sick since I began yoga teacher training & discovered so much joy (and my life purpose, so I thought). Amazing how a virus can pick out a person in a weakened vulnerable state!
So I got better, did more karate, showed up for class again and gave it another shot, blending 75% me with 25% for the side planking fast flow people. They seemed happy, someone applauded. Feedback lady gave me a big smile. Some new people came up and asked lots of questions and said even though they couldn’t do lots they will come back and keep trying. They had good humour and made me feel happy for them that despite their ailments would join a gym and try a new form of exercise.
Then later today I taught my private class, restorative yoga. 1 repeat student who bought along 2 friends. I was so inclined to cancel and it was a big push to put it out there that I was teaching this class. I really thought no one would show. But they did and they had a nice time. I hope they come back & tell their friends :)
I feel good, I feel like I made some people happy today. I wanted to teach yoga because I’ve always gotten so much out of it, so much mental relief, and I hoped to share something that would make their life a tiny bit better, even if it’s just a glimpse of bliss in a 1 hour class.