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Pardon me, I was listening to your elbow!

November 18, 2010

Teaching yoga is not as easy as it looks.

People who attend yoga classes with good teachers are often inspired by them to teach yoga, which is fantastic. But, what I also see is,  people who want to teach yoga really have no idea what it entails. Part of the reason for this is poor teacher training programs. The other part is good yoga teachers make it look easy. Not only is it not easy, it’s actually quite complex.

If you are a “tuned in” teacher, also known as an “empath”  you’re constantly getting messages while teaching.

The first thing I do when I walk into the yoga room is stand quietly take in a couple of breaths and tune in to see what’s going on. Then I walk around the room, find a reason to adjust the curtains, move a water bottle or turn on a fan to get a little closer to the people I’m trying to read. My initial reading of the energies in the class are usually pretty accurate. I can feel everyone’s moods and minds clear as a bell. As class begins and the energy starts flowing I find the messages slow down because people’s minds and concerns have slowed down.

Usually about 20 or 30 minutes into class it seems that the messages stop coming from their minds and start coming from people’s bodies. Once I get deeper in to the subtle realms I occasionally  lose track of the physical. If you’ve been in my class this is when I usually confuse right and left. (I know which side we’re on and we’re going–but I will call the left and the right hand and the right hand left hand!)

The students  have no idea I have “gone in” and often this mistake gives them the giggles. I’ll feel someone’s knee energy or get a message from someone’s back… (Sometimes I actually can see the muscles and joints moving underneath the skin as if the skin is transparent ) I become so fascinated by this that I’m “gone.”  I begin to focus on these images, listening to the messages and watching for their “needs”.

And then this happens: if I am communicating with the “left” I’ll say “left” even if we are on the “right”. Or if I hear a foot and I want to say “hand” – sometimes it comes out as “foot”. Of course I find it very embarrassing because it’s basic information and though I know which is which I also know I am on another frequency.

Naturally, there are some who get irritated  or think I’m a total air brain. But some students do get it. I had one woman walk up to me last night after class and say, “wow it’s incredible how tuned in you are, you always know exactly what I am thinking and feeling.”  In my mind I say, “yes I do.” But, I just smile and say, “I hope you had a good class.”

Yoga teachers will tell you one of the most difficult things for teaching yoga post class analyzing. Was it “a good class?”                         “Did they like it?”  Or worse, “Did they like me?”

And you never know. One student might think it was a great class, and another student might think it was a terrible class. Factor in your perception as a teacher  and it can go either way. Most likely you are completely “wrong” depending on who you listen to.

The thing is- it doesn’t matter what you, the yoga teacher, thinks. I guess when you get right down to it doesn’t even matter what the student thinks. A doing hatha yoga is not about what you think, or what you don’t think. Doing hatha yoga is about moving the body and shifting the energy. And if you do the former, you’re definitely doing the latter.

And THAT is a good class.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2010 10:42 am

    brilliant and soooo damn on the money! love it!!

  2. November 18, 2010 11:33 am

    Love this. When I started teaching I would get wrapped up in the analysis. My teaching mantra has become, “It is not about me” and this makes it easier to tune in and actually teach from a place of authenticity. Thanks for sharing this!!

  3. George Burch permalink
    November 18, 2010 9:10 pm

    Gee.. and all this time I just thought you were ditzy! (grins!)

  4. November 18, 2010 9:11 pm

    I don’t yet teach yoga, (though I will be doing my YTT in May in Costa Rica, lucky me!) but I have been a personal trainer and fitness instructor for a lotta years now…

    I can totally relate to “seeing” someone’s physical and emotional needs, you can truly see the facial cues, the muscles, the joints, feel the energy around the student/client.

    When I first began, I used to always analyze my sessions/classes after the fact and think “did they like it” “did they ‘get’ it?!” etc etc…

    Now, I just know when I’ve led a really good hour. I leave and just think, that was an amazing session… Or I think, that wasn’t my most golden… You can’t be “on” all the time, and that is just a part of being not only a teacher, but an eternal student. It’s why teaching is so rewarding… You are learning with yourself the whole time.

    Thanks for this article! Seriously great!

  5. Katie permalink
    November 20, 2010 9:22 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. You are The Best. See you soon for more yoga!

  6. Blissful Girl permalink
    December 2, 2010 1:08 pm

    Thank you for this insightful post. The ultimate validation of a job well done is to see my yoga peeps return week after week. The practice is the reward!

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