Teaching Yoga

judieatmorrowpreschool

When my friends learned that I was searching for a yoga teacher training program, they assumed I wanted to become a yoga teacher. I did not. I wanted to deepen my own yoga practice. I wanted to learn about the Sutras and the Gita, ancient yogic texts. What I didn’t realize, though, was that I would have to teach in my training. As students, we were supposed to teach, if I recall correctly, at least six community classes. For some reason, my teacher thought I was going to be an “amazing” (her words) yoga teacher. She told me I would get a following. She had me sub for her during my training, something most trainees don’t do.

I never enjoyed teaching. I was very nervous and insecure. I know some my fellow classmates felt the same. I reached out to experienced teachers for advice. I learned they too recalled feeling similarly as they began teaching. One or two even admitted they would take something to calm their nerves before teaching.

I felt I didn’t know enough to stand in front of a class and tell them what to do. I was scared someone was going to get injured in my class. I prayed, I sought the help of energy workers and spiritual coaching to help calm my nerves. I even had a session with a hypnotherapist. I often had to sub classes and I swear I could hear people’s voices saying “Oh shit, a sub! Ugh, I want to leave!” I did approach a few students after class to find out if they were thinking that. Why yes, they were. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Reiki practitioner and am quite sensitive to feelings but I hated it. OK, I didn’t always hate it. I did teach a few series where I had the same four or six students every week. I knew them and they knew me. I got to know their bodies. I integrated yoga with Reiki. I did enjoy those classes. I felt I was serving these students to the best of my ability.

Even though I was nervous, I kept on teaching. I would say yes to most opportunities to teach. I approached yoga studios about getting on their schedule. It was a struggle since there are many yoga teachers in my hood. I even looked into renting my own space to teach a class after teaching six students in my living room for weeks.

And  yet…..

It wasn’t until I returned home from my trip to India last Fall that I realized, hello, I did not have to teach adults! Apparently some of my friends had given me that advice but I never heard them. Once I decided to devote my teaching to children, it was as if I had lost weight. I felt much lighter and freer.

I don’t always feel light and free when I teach kids. It’s challenging work. I don’t walk around a room teaching and demonstrating a few poses. I’m on the floor with them doing frog jumps and donkey kicks. I try to maintain their attention and focus. I’m constantly scouring blog posts and websites, taking trainings, buying books and props to use in my classes. However, I generally don’t get anxious and nervous as I used to when I was teaching adults. I do feel some anxiety before teaching at a new school or center, but it’s really not the same.

Yesterday, I read an article titled Memo to New Teachers: Be Patient. I thought the article was good until I came to the end when the author wrote “The world is full of great artists who never came to be because of a fear of being bad before they were good.” That sentenced took my breath away. Was he talking to me? Had I let fear win?  Or, was I simply following my dharma?

In my case, I believe my skills and gifts are best served teaching children. Who knows. Maybe if I had continued teaching adults, I would have overcome my nerves and anxiety. I also believe life is too short and there are many great yoga teachers. Once I made the decision not to teach adults, I wondered if I would change my mind. It’s been over one year, though, and my mind hasn’t changed. Will it ever?

Fellow yoga teachers, how did you feel as you began teaching?  Have those feelings changed the more you teach? Yoga practitioners, do you know or sense when a teacher is a new teacher or if she/he is nervous or anxious about teaching?

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Reiki and Messages From Above

I have been giving Reiki sessions on and off since last Fall. However, recently it’s been picking up a lot.  I have been getting more and more requests for sessions.  I love it.

The interesting thing is that most times I will receive messages while I am giving Reiki. I will connect with the person’s Higher Self. I have on going conversations with one client’s Higher Self.  Her Higher Self is very vocal and clear. It’s not the same with everyone.

Today I gave two sessions. One person’s Higher Self was soft spoken and didn’t have much to say. Interestingly enough, the few messages and images that I did receive resonated with her. The other person’s Higher Self didn’t have anything to say at all.

While I am open to receiving these messages, part of me thinks I am crazy and making all of this up. However, my clients validate what I say.  Weird, huh?

On Friday night, a friend of mine had a girls night at her house.  She had an Intuitive to read our angel cards and she was also a medium. I was first in line for a reading! I’m not quite sure if she was accurate with me, but the cards did say that I am on the right path. I shared with her that I am a yoga teacher and have been giving Reiki sessions.  And, that sometimes I get these messages and images. Turns out she is also a Reiki Master and the same thing happened to her.  When she gave Reiki sessions, she would get messages. After a while, people stopped wanting Reiki and only wanted to hear the messages.

She told me she would be my mentor.  At the very end of the night, my friend (and host) got a reading.  The intuitive mentioned me to her and said that I have a gift.

Where does this leave me?  I’m asking the Universe for a sign.  What, if anything, is my next step?  I’ll keep you posted.

Does Everything Happen For A Reason?

I’ve been giving the phrase “everything happens for a reason” a lot of thought recently. I blogged a few months ago about my desire to go to India this year. Since that post, I did more research, found a tour and signed up. I made an appointment with the Department of Infectious Diseases. I purchased my airfare. I had sent in all the materials to get my Visa (what a pain in the ass that was). I’ve been sharing the news with my friends and everyone who asks how I was going to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday. I was so excited, nervous and happy.

Then, on Mother’s Day, I received an email that broke my heart. Continue reading

Struggling

For the past few weeks, probably even longer than that if I allowed myself to think about it, I have not been meditating. I want to mediate, but I just haven’t felt like it. I have been down this road before. There have been many times when I have fallen off the meditation bandwagon, only to jump right back on it. I have told myself that when I’m ready, I will begin anew.

However, now I’m wondering if this is the right tactic this time.  Perhaps I need to force myself to just do it. I spoke with my husband today with my lack of discipline with my at home asana practice. I love taking yoga classes but I cannot take a class every day.  Yoga teachers should practice at home.  Right? At least that’s what I’ve been taught. Again, I have not committed to that. My husband said I should devote 30 minutes every day and that soon it will become a habit.

I’m trying to show compassion to myself and yet I’m also beating myself up at the same time.  Ouch!

Peace and Quiet

Recently, I’ve felt an itch.  I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I just felt *something* was off.  One morning, I decided to think about this itch. It dawned on me that I wanted, no, needed, peace and quiet. Specifically, I needed to mediate. Quietly. The thing is, I have been meditating. Ever since January 1st, I’ve been doing a Har kirya. .

Frankly, I’m not loving it. It doesn’t feel good to me. One of my yoga teacher friends also admitted that she didn’t stick with it. I’ve seen another friend post on Facebook that she was going to try it again. And again. I’ve been keeping up with it just to see if anything changed within the 40 days. Has anything changed, you may wonder… Continue reading

Yoga Back Lash

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article titled How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body. I have been amazed at the responses that I have read after people read the article.  I have seen non-yoga fitness instructors post this on their Facebook wall. One friend posted that she was not going to do shoulder stand any more. I have yoga teacher friends who say they no longer want to teach inversions in their class.

I am interviewing for a potential yoga teaching job today. The director of the space emailed me this article. She wanted to make sure I had read it. Bloggers have been posting about it left and right.

In my class, I always remind my students to be aware of their body. If something doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.  There is a difference between challenge and pain. It does bother me that yoga has gotten such a negative buzz.  I also know that this buzz will pass although I am afraid that certain people may be too afraid to try yoga.  This article also brought to light one of my biggest fears- someone getting injured in my class.

I was injured two times I was injured in a yoga class.  One time the teacher has years and years of experience.  She owns and leads a studio, she leads Yoga Alliance teacher trainings, etc. It was not her fault I got injured.  It was due to my own misjudgment and my own body misalignment.

All I can do is teach and guide from the safest viewpoint as possible.