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!

Path to deep healing

When I started this blog a few years ago, I intended to use it as a sort of photo blog, but it didn’t go anywhere and now I’ve decided to try to kick some life into it but going in a new direction. Many who know me well know that I’ve been struggling for years with chronic health issues and have been working hard to understand the root causes and figure out holistic ways to heal myself. I had several dark years where I just felt pretty horrid almost all of the time, I couldn’t find a doctor to properly diagnose me, the western medical field wanted me to pop pills to mask the symptoms, which I refused to do, and the alternative health modalities that I had been pursuing for years that used to help suddenly stopped helping.

I had an internal tug-o-war happening, swinging between being more determined to understand what was happening to me because I couldn’t live like this, and starting to lose all hope that I would ever get better. An amazing pilates teacher I was seeing at the time suggested I try spinal release yoga in the studio next door. I checked it out, took one class and was totally hooked. I felt better after one class than I had in years. This was October 2012, and with the amazing knowledge and support of my teacher, Kaya, I started down a path of deep healing through spinal release yoga and ayurveda, with the additional support of my acupuncturist. I feel better now than I can remember ever feeling in my entire life and I know that this path will only continue to heal me at a deeper and deeper level. The drastic cycles of pain, fatigue, and grief I was going through are nearly gone. I’ve healed from injuries that happened over a decade ago that I thought would always be with me. I’ve seen huge shifts in my mental and emotional patterns and outlook. My whole life has changed for the better.

I feel so blessed to have found this path for myself that I can’t help but want to help others heal. I’ve been wanting to become a yoga teacher for years (I studied Iyengar yoga for 15 years and dabbled in other forms of yoga and practices such as qigong before switching to spinal release), but never had the consistent, daily, home practice that I knew I needed before I felt truly ready to take the plunge. I happily and easily have that dedicated home practice now and I can feel it deep inside that I’m ready for this next step.

I am registered to study spinal release yoga in a 200 hour teacher training in Colorado through two 10 – day immersions in April and October this year. I’m beside myself with excitement and eager anticipation of deepening my own practice, and at the prospects of starting to teach yoga myself. I don’t know yet what that will look like, but it’s a long time coming and I’m going to do my best to let it flow as it will. Patience is something I’m working on.

I’ve also started dabbling in essential oils and aromatherapy, but that’s a whole new addition to the story, for a different post.

I’m going to use this space to share what I’m experiencing and what I’m learning as I continue down this path of deep healing. I know writing it down will help me and hopefully it will be interesting and possibly helpful to you.

To good health and a life of joy!