Ah, the Facebook “On This Day” feature. Most days, it’s a reminder of what an embarrassing human I can be – poorly-edited selfies, links to terribly angsty music videos, ridiculous status updates about god knows what. (I always know it’s gonna be cringe-worthy, why do I feel the need to look?!) But this week I had a nice reminder from Facebook: it’s been a year since I did my YogaFit Level 1 training!
I’m bad at keeping track of timelines, I know, but I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I just skimmed back through this blog, to when I started actually teaching, and even that was seven months ago! Crazy.
A year into this journey, and I still feel like a complete beginner. I still get so, so nervous when I’m waiting for my students to arrive so I can start a class. I may look and sound a lot more confident than I was, but rest assured, it’s all an act. I’m here quaking in my boots, hoping for the best.
When I registered for the two-day training program, somewhere in the back of my mind, I didn’t really picture myself ever being a “real life yoga teacher”. Sure, it was a nice idea, but me – a yoga teacher? Nope, I’m too shy and awkward and who’d ever come to a class I taught? I half convinced myself this was just extra yoga, to expand my personal practice; knowledge that’d be nice to have, and an interesting, fun way to spend a weekend.
As the first day progressed, it wasn’t so much “a fun way to spend a weekend”, it was overwhelming! There was so much material to learn and things to keep in mind – this was a whole lot more than I’d bargained for! I can remember as a group activity we had to take turns leading the others in one pose. One pose – and I struggled, hard. I’d never thought about how you move into different poses before, it just happened. How was I supposed to explain it to someone else? My brain and my words and my body all refused to cooperate, and I was convinced I was not cut out for yoga teaching.
Still, probably because of my typical stubbornness, I persevered. I taught my requisite 10 hours of community classes, got my Level 1 Certificate, and started teaching at a studio. And it’s been struggle city all the way, but I’ve loved it. At first I’d be so nervous I’d speed through my meticulously planned-out flow, ending an “hour-long” class after about thirty minutes. There have been times, like during the training course, that my words just wouldn’t work, and I’ve ended up saying something like “just do this with your arm”. I’ve had classes where no one shows up, or even worse – only one person shows up. HELLLO, awkward!! Suffice it to say, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
I’ve had thoughts about giving it all up, and going back to just practicing yoga on a personal level. Teaching stresses me out, no one comes to my classes, I’m no good at this, do I even really like this?? The negative thoughts try their best. At one point over the summer I had myself in such a state I was trying to work out how I’d tell my boss I was done. Thank Buddha I didn’t. I love teaching. Yes, I get stressy; yes, my classes are sometimes a little empty; yes, I’m still pretty amateur at this. But also, YES, I LOVE THIS. Despite the struggle and stress, I love teaching yoga. I love the calm, fulfilled feeling I get after I finish a class. I love the concentrated, determined face of my students as they balance in tree pose, and then the proud look of achievement as they step out of it. I love the few students who have become regulars, and have been attending my classes since I started in March. Seriously – I just love it!
I know I’m not going to be teaching any sophisticated, fancy-ass yoga retreats in India any time soon. I know I have a long, long ways to go and a lot to learn before that’s even a remote possibility. But I also know I’ve come a long way already; a year ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to teach yoga at all. So let’s not rule anything out completely (LOL who am I kidding here).
Point of all this rambling being – it’s a learning process. It’s a journey, and I’m in for the long haul.
Thanks to everyone who’s been along for the ride;