Thursday, January 20, 2011

My New Attitude Toward Teaching

I was due to start teaching my first yoga class of the season a couple of weeks ago and, of course, that meant that I was starting to stress out. I had such mixed emotions about teaching when I started last year. I never really imagined myself in front of a big class. I really only got the teaching credentials for my own knowledge and benefit. I wasn't sure I would be a good instructor or I would at all enjoy it. And I must say, after teaching last year I didn't really enjoy it. It became work, a second job. The type A personality in me had to strive for perfection and I had to plan out the classes far in advance and rehearse them to death to make sure they would last exactly one hour. I worried about having enough things to say during class and I was all around too uptight about everything. It was completely counter productive to what yoga is all about.

I considered not teaching again this year, but then again, I also consider closing YogaDudes for business every single year. But it never happens. I get one email from a happy customer and it gives me the drive to continue. Same thing with teaching. So many of the students are so enthusiastic and excited about taking the class and if I don't teach there will be no more yoga in my town, so again, I dig down deep for the drive.

This year I wanted it to be different. I didn't want to dread it. But would that be possible? A friend of mine gave me some good advice a few days before my first class. She just reminded me that it was a beginners class that I'm teaching and they have no expectations. They likely will have nothing else to compare my class to. She also reminded me of a class that we used to take together that we thought wasn't the best class, but the next day we were always embarrassed to admit that we were sore. Whatever else she told me this fateful night changed my outlook. I decided that I wasn't going to get so worked up. I was just going to wing it a bit and not rehearse everything.

I have to say, walking into the class I did feel a little more nervous than I would if I had rehearsed, but that feeling slipped right away as soon as I started. I had a basic plan of what I would do, but I just let time pass as it would and I adjusted the class on the fly. Without trying to memorize all the things that I wanted to say, the words just came natural to me. I am still in shock at how smoothly and easily the class went. I really hope I can continue this new attitude toward teaching. And my class ended with the students applauding. Would could feel better than that? Thank you Lisa for giving me the relaxed yoga-attitude that I so needed.


lgaumond said...

You are welcome! I'm glad you took my advice. What's the point of sharing the joy of yoga with new yogis if you hate every second of class? Flow with it, enjoy it, let it happen. HAVE FUN!

Anonymous said...

The internal dissonance you experience is because of the emphasis on the skills-knowledge-rules merry-go-round delivered by training providers. These are part of a range of common problems with westernised yoga

Kat said...

I think that if we want our students to learn acceptance and have a non-judging, non-competitive environment, we need to start with ourselves.