You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get from baking a big batch of chocolate chip cookies, putting them in a nice tin with a sweet note, and gifting them to a friend? Totally different from the kind of happy you get from treating yourself to a perfect piece of your favorite chocolate cake, right? That’s kind of how I’d compare teaching yoga to my own personal practice.
Both make me a fairly happy human (let’s face it, anything yoga-related makes my heart smile), but in completely different ways.
Like sharing sweet treats with a friend, teaching yoga gives me an accomplished, do-goody feeling. I love ending a class and feeling like I helped share the magic of yoga. Yoga has helped me so much; I love being able to pass that on to others who need it just as much as I do. If even one person leaves my class feeling better than they did walking into it, excellent – that’s what I’m aiming to do.
That said, digging in to a delish piece of cake, or in to a good, flowy yoga practice, is a whole other kind of happy. It feels like an indulgent luxury, or an act of self care. It’s a chance to treat yo’self, bringing a little bit of joy to your body and your brain.
One of the pieces of advice for new yoga teachers that I’ve read pretty often is to not let yourself neglect your personal practice. Honestly, I really don’t think that’s very likely for me. Since beginning to teach, I feel like I enjoy my own yoga time even more. While I really really enjoy teaching my beginner’s class, there’s still a lot of anxiety that comes with it. I worry about messing up my words, or whether or not my students will actually enjoy the class, or how well my sequencing/timing/cuing will work out. At the end of class, yeah, I do feel good – but ultimately, it’s about my students.
When I attend a class, or practice on my own, that pressure flies out the window. I’m accountable to no one but myself, and my only goal is to step off my mat feeling a lil better than I began. I can listen to the teacher’s instructions, and focus on what my body is doing, and let the craziness in my head float away. It’s altogether a more relaxing, restorative type of happy.
I’m grateful for any kind of happiness in my life, and I’m lucky to have a lot of the yogic variety lately. I’m sure as I move through this whole yoga/teaching/life journey, my feelings will shift and change slightly, but I hope I can always find some joy in yoga.
And I hope you can also soak up a bit of yoga-influenced happiness. (Maybe come to one of my classes…? 😉 )
Sending you good vibes and happy thoughts, namaste. ❤