So now that I’ve spent a whole two hours teaching my friend yoga during these past two weeks, I’m practically a professional! Oh yeah! 🙂
Seriously, this teaching thing is hard, and mixing it with a friendship brings its own challenges. As well as making some parts of it much easier, I guess.
So here’s a few small observations from last week as I reflect on the experience:
- If you haven’t felt it, you can’t teach it. It’s not about knowing the fancy anatomical descriptions (though my inner nerd would love to) — it’s about explaining what shape the body is taking, and how, and what modifications might be needed in as simple a way as possible. Tough gig. I see years and decades of evolution here. Is it poetry? Is it science? Finding the balance would keep everyone happy.
- Sharing is a lot of fun and is a helpful way right now to describe what I’m doing. ‘Teaching’ sounds too laden in all sorts of ways. But I think a good teacher is always acknowledging this: that they are a student too, and that each student has ultimate responsibility for their own path and practice. The teacher should try to cultivate this sense — I just need to figure out how.
- Practice makes perfect. That’s for me and for her. I need lots of repetition in giving instructions but she too wants lots of repetition in hearing them and in practicing the same thing over and over. It’s all new to her, after all. Find a balance of familiarity and novelty to build confidence but keep interest.
- Simple stuff should not be overlooked — there’s great power and freedom in just allowing someone some quiet moments, giving them the permission they crave to not do anything except be there breathing. We began with sitting — she said she felt great. We then did a few rounds of warmup poses — she felt even more great. We barely needed to go on from there … but we did!
- Touch is a powerful thing. Easy to do between girlfriends, so I’m not straying into dangerous waters of permission and appropriateness. But wow — feeling her muscles engage on cue while I’m supporting her in her first ever Ardha Candrāsana — magic moment! I could have cried, but I settled for post-Śavāsana hug instead!
- Finding a way to create ease for someone not only feels a great privilege (bolster under knees in Śavāsana, because I know she finds it hard on the lower back), but it also reminds me that if I offer this gladly to someone else, I should treat myself the same way.
All this and so much more…
I could go on, but I’ll be embarrassing her if she’s reading [hi! and *thank you* again! xx]. I simply wanted to capture something of this experience.