Today I taught my first yoga class. It was simultaneously awesome and terrifying.
We have a Wellness Program at my work that, like many, was well intentioned but has had minimal participation. I have been managing some other parts of it that run relatively well, head the committee and lead meetings, but it just hasn’t had the level of excitement and involvement in it that it deserved. Being that I love nutrition and approaching the body holistically, I was a natural fit to become its cheerleader. So when I got an overwhelming response that people were interested in yoga, I jumped on it.
At first I hoped that no one would sign up. Then, I could say that I tried, I put it out there, it failed and it wasn’t my fault. Of course, that was my cowardice talking and when I let it (too often), the cowardice wins.
So as people began to RSVP for the class, I started to progressively freak out. But then I was accountable to people, so there was no turning back, just preparation.
I have been practicing yoga for a long time now. So long it seems kind of far off and hazy. My first exposure to yoga was in “seventeen” magazine when I was in middle school. I was young and physically resilient. I easily popped up into full wheel based on that article, dug it, and was hooked. But, like many things that are good for us, I would practice of and on again for years to come until I graduated from high school and spent a bit of time in college. Then it really started to mesh, leading me to practice more often and taking us down the path to becoming vegetarian (and a year later, vegan). And when I met my teacher here in Portland, it all came together and now it’s been nearly 4 years of practicing with her and my own home practice= bliss. Over the past few years the idea of attending a teacher training has come up a couple of times, but it just didn’t seem… possible. I LOVE my practice and yoga and learning more about it and it’s many limbs, traditions and philosophies, but I just felt so humbled by my studentship. It seemed out of reach.
The more I study and learn though, the more I realize that being aware that I am still a student would actually be a benefit as a teacher. We are all students of everything in life. We’ll never be the perfect know-it-alls of anything, and that’s the brilliance of the whole thing. There is always more to be learned, deepened and built upon.
For my first class, I selected a theme. My theme was expectations. We all have expectations of what things will be a like. A date. A family event. A conversation. A big project at work. Teaching your first yoga class. And if you get so caught up in your expectations, you lose sight of what actually happens. Rather, you compare what did or didn’t happen or was said or what you thought you could do and you waste your time comparing the reality to the ideal. We sacrifice too much to what we thought should be, rather an appreciating what is.
How can you let go of your expectations to participate more fully in your life? How can you worry less about what you anticipate you can or can’t do and appreciate what you are capable of, become comfortable with where you are and enjoying that sweet spot?
I prepared for my class, developed a series of sequences and practiced them at home a couple of times. I wrote out the sequences to keep mat side so I wouldn’t have to stress out my poor brain trying to desperately recall what I’d planned next. I brought my favorite yoga pants and geared up for action.
No face-plants, ambulance calls or CPR performances were needed. We practiced and played and laughed. My sequences fell short, time-wise, and I had to think on my feet (literally) and come up with another sequence, which I did with relative ease. And at the end I was thanked by 7 happy faces and I was able to float home, having been able to actually practice what I preached and stay present in the moment.
Squirrel’s Vegan KitchenGo back in time to my original blog: Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen!
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