“To teach a yoga class well, the teacher must hold back nothing. The teacher’s heart must be entirely open.” – Gates & Kenison. Meditations from the Mat. Page 127.
This quote jumped off the pages of my book this morning, the day following my first experience teaching a public yoga class. My yoga school arranged opportunities for training students to teach in-studio classes provided at no charge to the attendees. Attendees knew that the instructor was in training and since they hadn’t paid, it wasn’t as pressured for the trainee.
But, stepping into the room full of yoga peers gave me feelings of both excitement and nervousness. I was excited that people actually came and that I finally was going to be able to share the beloved Hawai’i Flow Sequence that I had spent weeks painstakingly creating and practicing.
I was nervous because people actually came and I wondered if I could really lead this sequence so that the students felt what I wanted them to feel by the end of the class, the feeling of relaxation as if they had visited my beautiful Hawai’i.
Excitement and nervousness are actually the same emotion, one seemingly a positive manifestation and one not so much. The time came to begin and after the awkward feeling of introducing myself, we settled into our breath work to the songs of the ocean and whale calls. The playlist carried me through the postures and cues, mostly peacefully with only a few minor errors that likely no else noticed.
During my first couple of downward facing dogs, I noticed my muscles were quivering. It was too early for muscle fatigue to be the culprit. Then I realized that, as I had learned the day prior, muscles quiver to release excess stress as a natural response.
Of course, I’ve been stressed to this point many times, but this time was different. Instead of fighting my body to stop shaking, I realized my muscles were just trying to help me, so I let them do their thing. And? Guess what? When they were finished, they stopped on their own. I felt relaxed.
The playlist continued and carried my mind and body and words through the entire sequence. When I was finished I was happy and relieved. I was exhausted.
Then, Excitement opened one eye and said, “Can we do this again?”
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