Thoughts on Teaching

I’m getting ready to teach my seventh yoga class and I feel like I’m beginning to hit my stride. Halfway through my 200 hour teacher training, I have a lot of information to assimilate and put into practice yet I hunger for more. A self-confessed recovering perfectionist, I’m learning that teaching is hard. It’s extreme vulnerability for me. I am in a position of offering my knowledge to others while I am still coalescing what I am learning and putting it into practice myself. I spend hours upon hours each week creating a lesson plan: thinking about what I want students to get out of class this week, what the impact of the season is on our psyches and bodies and how to mitigate that through our yoga practice, which poses and in what particular order will help bring my students a step further in their practice, what philosophical idea I want to layer into my descriptions of poses and why we do them at all/in a particular way/in a particular order. And then I test that lesson plan out on myself – I practice the sequence and see how it feels in my own body. I practice so I can see what stumbling blocks my students might come across because I come across them myself, so that I can help guide the class through the blocks. I practice so I can see how the sequence flows, and what my body naturally wants to do next, and then I adjust, and I practice again, and I adjust some more. I review my pose descriptions and the anatomy and the alignments and I run the language through my head of how to accurately and simply talk the class into, through, and out of the poses. I think about what aspect of certain poses I want to highlight. I ponder what I want to share about why I sequenced the class in a particular way, or what the goal of the class is. And then I take a deep breath and I head to the studio and I hope that I remember to say just one-half of the insights I wanted to share. And I learn to let go of my perfectionist ways as I stumble over my words, have to change plans mid-class because things took too long for whatever reason, and come to the end of class realizing that I forgot to add a particular variation I wanted to include or forgot to explain a key concept that I was really keen on explaining. Next time.

Teaching is vulnerability. I’m learning to open up to the vulnerability, and I’m loving it. Time for class!

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