The last 12 months have not solely been about teaching yoga, but it has played a big part in my experience. With significant life changes all round, I’ll be closing this year in a very different space to where I started – for the better!
Yoga teaching so far for me has brought a mix of emotions.
From the enthusiastic start cramming up to nine classes a week online, through to emotional & physical exhaustion & taking time off all together.
There are many moments when I love guiding a yoga practice. The feeling at the end of a class is priceless, when you see people’s faces radiate contentment, with smiles (mostly) all round. Conversely, there are times I question why I am doing this at all. Typically when planning a class, I may feel run down or lack energy or motivation & the thought of designing a new sequence or theme for the week can feel exhausting.
I still feel like an imposter most of the time & when I ask the question at the beginning ‘what’s happening in your bodies – any injuries or other medical conditions I should know about?’ – always slightly worried about what will come back & what I can do with the information received. From hip replacements, prosthetic limbs, pregnancy to knee injuries & beyond, I’ve learnt more about peoples bodies than I ever thought possible. My favourite response ‘how long have you got’ always makes me chuckle.
Surprisingly, I have been able to adapt each practice to meet the needs of students & as far as I’m aware no one has gone away injured (my biggest fear!).
I have so many memories from teaching that bring a smile & I draw on these to help motivate.
From the time midway through a class when I had brain freeze & forgot I was teaching. I’d been doing adjustments & moving around the class when I looked around & no one was moving & realised I’d stopped talking for quite a while, whilst everyone held in uttanasana (forward fold).
My ability (or inability) to mirror teach makes my brain hurt & frequently mix up left & right & names of limbs.. ‘look over your middle thumb’ a frequent cue (my regulars somehow know what I mean?!).. I easily lose track of time & suddenly realise there are about two mins left to ground everyone & squeeze in a savasana. Pretty much always surprised by how fast an hour whizzes by.
Seeing people progress in their practice has been a real highlight. In yin yoga, having people able to move places in their bodies that they couldn’t before feels magical. Watching people get a bit deeper into a pose & see their understanding of how it feels for them is really rewarding. Observing people attempt more complex poses, play around with their physical bodies & succeed or have fun trying! I also love seeing people listen to the needs of their bodies & back out of a pose. People giving me death stares is not so much fun.. but for those moments cueing ‘& smile’ always helps!
One thing as a new yoga teacher I realised quite quickly was that I really do not like marketing, or doing frequent social media posts.. which if you are trying to promote your own classes makes it a wee bit difficult! Instead I became part of a community yoga leisure centre group – Better UK, which not only reaches more people across the local area but means my own marketing can be minimal!
I’ve noticed my relationship with my own practice & physical body has also changed. I’m much kinder to myself.
My body shape has changed & not as I would have expected with my preconceptions of becoming a super fit yoga teacher.. rather I prefer to take my own practice/ exercise regime slower, with more mindful, less physical movement, not as frequently as I once did. This is a big mind shift for me & definitely much healthier.
My general approach to life has slowed down considerably. I think in part due to many other life circumstances, although I’d like to think I’m trying more to practice what I preach. The bottom line being ‘be kind to yourself & others’, ‘live the life you love’ & ‘love the life you live’.
Not sure I’ve done 12 months of teaching yoga justice in this short blog – but it happened! It flew by & whilst sometimes I think ‘why did I do this?’, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I don’t want to do this’… I keep showing up (unless ill or family emergency) & after every class I am 100% (or maybe 99.9%) always glad I did.
Personal motto ‘Keep moving, keep believing & keep showing up – unless your tired, then have a nap’.
Big thanks to all those who have joined me on the mat this year! It’s been a huge learning experience, we’ve shared lots of laughter & very grateful to have had the opportunity to guide many different kinds of yoga practice.
Sending love & light beautiful people 🙏