BY DONNA PHILLIPS, TYS TT Trainee
In all honesty, I came into the third yoga training weekend with some dread. I knew, before this weekend was over, I would be teaching in front of a real class.
I had relived, a million times over the previous few weeks, the awkward, painful moments of my first practice teaching attempts from the last training. I had practiced and studied so much since then, but was it enough? Would I be ready to teach a class?
These questions were looming in the back of my mind as I walked through the door for this third training intensive. As the hours of the weekend passed by, I was aware that I constantly knew how much time was left until the free community class my classmates and I would teach. It wasn’t on purpose. It just happened. Looming in the periphery of whatever task was at hand was that ticking away of the time clock; first it was days, then half-days, then hours, and minutes.
It was stressful and nagging and tiring, somehow. Even though I really wanted to do it, and the goal is very exciting to me, the anticipation of the unknown and the certainty of at least a few public blunders and bloopers was weighing heavy. By the time the “day of” arrived, I was so ready to get it done – just to get some relief, and move on to the next phase!
An hour before the class we took a walk to decompress, find some meditative silence, and regroup. We were all three together, but in our own worlds. It was a really powerful time, actually! Totally quiet, yet it was like I could hear their thoughts and feel their energy.
We have gotten so close through all of this. You can’t go through something like this and not get close. During that walk before our first class, it was like a dynamic of love and supportive energy just began to move through us and tie us together. We really cared for and felt for each other in what we were about to do together; a beautiful, powerful time!
As we walked back through the door of the studio and students began to arrive, I noticed faces, eyes and people like I never had before. I’m always very social and talkative before and after classes. I love the community at The Yoga Stand! But it was a little different this time. As I look back on it, I think I was feeling some “teacher” responsibility to really “see” each individual student; who they are, where they are, and what they need.
Something was happening to me at a deep level that I didn’t even realize. When I walked up in front of that class and began to teach, it was like it all came together. I felt and observed in my core, all of the hard work, studying, stress, agony, anticipation of the unknown, awkward painful practices, etc. etc. from the past months merge together into something new. I was a teacher! It was a new place.
Not a perfect place. Not a perfect class. Far from it, really. But I KNEW that is was going to be okay.
I WAS going to learn the rest of what I needed to know to teach an effective class. I had made it over a huge hurdle, to a new place, and it was good!
As the next training weekend approaches, with at least two scheduled classes for us to teach, there is no dread. I know there will still be challenges, faux pas, and things to fix, but I’m ready to go there. I want to practice and practice again, until I have this. I’m about to be a yoga teacher, and I want to be a good one!