This post is a very thoughtful insight of what we don’t often realise when we are a yoga student… My follow up response post is below below. Enjoy! K xx
Going from being a yoga student to a yoga teacher is no easy transition. As a student you think you know what it is to take the podium. You think the person up there has decided to go to training, to memorize the dialogue, and enjoys a good sweat. That bellowing at someone to push that left should forward in Half Moon is their life’s dream. And although this is in some ways very true, there are quite a few things I didn’t understand until I took that first step up to the podium, looked out at my students, and started class.
Here are just a few of the things you may not realize about your yoga teacher:
They are not perfect. Your instructor is a person just like everyone else with their own insecurities, flaws, and faults. They are a student of the yoga exactly in the same…
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Today I wish to share with you the post re-blogged above written by a fellow Bikram Yoga teacher. Reading it last week all I could do was nod and say so true. There is so much more to teaching this yoga than standing on the podium & reciting the dialogue. It’s a huge wake up call when you’re fresh out of training as the more seasoned teachers make it look so easy! Looking back now I really should have been more compassionate towards some of my teachers, I just wasn’t ready to recognise this.
Don’t worry this isn’t going to turn into a pity party for yoga teachers. More like recognition to how much I was stuck in my head rather than leading from my heart. Back before I was a teacher doing my practice I’d often notice other students with the wrong grip in standing bow or rabbit, knees flying open wider than 6 inches in floor bow whilst rocking back & fourth on their bellies. Why wasn’t the teacher helping them I’d think? Why aren’t they correcting them? They are doing it wrong, they’ll get hurt, sort them out do your job!
Number one I should have been focusing on my practice, my own eyes in the mirror, the eyes of my best teacher. Number two I should have trusted that my teacher knew best & they were doing they job 100%. They were probably putting out a more serious fire on the opposite side of the room. Even more so they were allowing the students to discover for themselves what the yoga is all about rather than being constantly nagged or have everything handed to them on a plate.
I’m happy to acknowledge these judgements I gave & realise I wasn’t seeing the other side of the reflection back then. It also shows how much I have been healed from my yoga practice & spiritual journey.
About a year ago I taught a class that had four fellow teachers in the room. At one point every single one was on their knees. Before I would have thought ‘they’re not leading a very good example, aren’t they bulletproof yoga gods?’ Now I think ‘good rest up, you’re in the room you are healing.’ Just like any other student in the room how do I know my colleague isn’t going through some immense trauma, having a bad day or recovering from an illness? They’ve probably been in the hot room for three hours already this class makes it four & a half. That’s a lot of sweating & energy. Aren’t they are allowed to be whacked?!
Every teacher is an individual. Yes we teach the same structured class but we all bring our own flare to it. How we hold & create the space in the room is different too. One teacher might be super comfortable constantly walking around the room giving corrections up close. Others may hold the space stronger by calling a name from the front of the room so everyone can hear & be part of that correction. How one teacher conducts their class is unique & special to them. They use their strengths to bring out the best in the students. If I start mimicking another teachers style because a few students have commented how much they like the way that teacher teaches it’s not authentic to me. I’ll give it a go but chances are it may turn into one hot mess. My class is constantly evolving & changing I’m so open to this. These changes need to come from within me first for it to flow, not from feeling pressured from external sources. How boring if every teacher taught the same way?
It does take a lot of energy to teach a class. What ever is going on in my life I have to leave it behind so I can be fully present for my students. I have methods I use to protect myself from getting too drained. However it is hard to switch off. Just like the post below says just because the class has finished doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it. Especially if a student had a question I didn’t know the answer for, an injury or illness that needs some more research to help me understand fully. We are all students & are constantly learning from each other. I find it hard to just walk away when I lock the studio door.
Students pop into my head at random times. I’m blessed to have an amazing support network of fellow teachers with whom I can check in with when I’m unsure. I look into alternative therapies that will compliment the yoga practice if I feel a challenge needs some extra attention. I love going the extra mile for students I feel it is part of my job as a teacher.
My problem with this is when I get too involved I forget to step back into my own room. I always say yoga is not just a 90-minute exercise class. It is a method of healing. As a healer as well I have great interest in this side of things. However I compromise my own healing if I don’t disconnect. Recently this has been more apparent. The warning signs started to show. Feeling tired, unfocused, starting to think of students during my own practice. That is my time for my self-nurturing. Yes I’m happy to do the extra work but I need to set scheduled times for it. When I step back into my room then it’s my time, I shut the door & be in my space. That way I can best serve all involved. Please don’t get offended if you see me at the studio when I’m not teaching & I scurry away not wanting to chat, I’m just taking a little me time.
I hope this has helped shine a light on the other side of the fence.
Love K xx