Oh how strange the journey has been. As part of my "homework" for Yoga Teacher Training, I am required to practice teach 6 yoga classes.
Fortunately, my friends and close acquaintances have been so supportive and many students signed up to attend my yoga classes.
As I was making arrangement for students, a friend (and now student) told me of a great space that he could provide for the classes! Amazing.
The space is an old building near downtown that used to be a mailing business. My friend rents the bottom floor of the building, and the top floor stood untouched.
With the help from Jonathan and my nephew Taylor (I had to bribe him with cash and ice cream :) we were able to clear the room and clean the floor.
This is Jonathan with an oil based floor sweep that we used to collect and pick up the thick layer of dust on the floor. It worked wonderfully!
After sweeping the dust I spent a few hours moping the floor with a natural lavender scented cleaner. I burned incense and one of the students brought beautiful plants and a lamp to warm the space.
The 6 class series has been deemed "Gypsy Yoga" due to the natural and earthy feel of the space. And like gypsies, the students, will travel to this strange location to engage in shared energy and to practice yoga collectively.
I scheduled the first class for last Saturday. I attended a class of my own bright and early on Saturday morning at the Yoga Bean, Lubbock's newest yoga studio. One of my favorite instructors taught the class and afterward I was excited and inspired to teach my Gypsy Yoga class.
Class #1 had only 3 students, none of which had ever stepped on a yoga mat. The class was wonderful! I felt like every word came out just as I planned in my head. And the students seemed to respond well to the instruction. I was even able to make a few adjustments to help the students in their poses. And I felt elated as I saw one student flowing through the class with the biggest grin on his face. I couldn't have asked for a better first time teaching experience.
Class #2 was not quite the same..
The class was scheduled for Monday evening. I worked all day at my office and somehow went home with a raging headache :(
I tried my best to collect myself before the class. I rolled out my mat at home and practiced the sequence that I was going to teach. I started feeling fatigued and tired, so took an asprin and set myself straight.. or I thought I had.
The class started late. And 8 students came!
My throat started to ache as soon as I began to talk. None of the words in my head were actually coming out of my mouth. I totally forgot one of the most important parts of my class (and yoga for that matter) -- the explanation of BREATH & MOVEMENT! Ugh, by the time I realized my eggregious mistake the students were in full on Sun Salutations and 20 minutes into the class. For the sake of progress, I let it be. By this point I started to work up a sweat. I was frustrated with myself and realized that I was in control and I had no choice but to continue. More mistakes and missteps were made along the way, all I could do was keep going. Keep teaching. Keep the students safe.
The remaining 30 minutes, felt like an eternity. During the 5 minute relaxation, Savasana pose, I took the opportunity to set myself straight. I collected my thoughts and slowly began to awaken the students from their relaxation. I tried to finish the class strong and open the floor for feedback..
One student recommended that I talk more about breath work.. and another "green" student asked about breathing techniques. So OBVIOUSLY, the explanation of breath and movement would have helped the class!
I totally beat myself up after the class and almost cried on the way home. I felt like a failure and I was disappointed with myself.
I started to think of the number of yoga classes that I have attended and how many of the class I can remember, even if they were bad. I couldn't recall memory of very many bad classes. So I made myself feel better by just chalking up this experience as a learning lesson.
I pray that my classes will get better over time and that I can redeem myself during the 4 remaining Gypsy Yoga classes.
Yoga is the path. Practice (teaching) is the journey.