Teaching truths

truth-will-set-you-freeMy boss has been super-supportive since I finally fessed up to him that I’d completed yoga teacher training this summer. I’m on a bit of a satya (truth) jag at the moment. My habit is to keep my counsel, cards close to the chest, cautious testing of the waters. Now I’m trying to trust a little, be more open-hearted, fear the consequences less.

So now the boss and I together are negotiating a different pattern of working hours that allows me a mid-week afternoon to myself without actually reducing my hours (also known as taking a pay cut without being relieved of any actual responsibilities!). Now that he knows a little about my commitments and my aspiration he told me I needed to do this!

jigsaw.jpgI talked to him today about my evening plans — teaching two colleagues, getting in some teaching practice with people I’m relatively comfortable with but who still need to be treated ‘for real’, unlike my new-graduate friends. He looked awestruck at the prospect. His logical brain processed the requirements: “So do you have a series of 10 minute elements that you just stick together each time?” Hmm, well, kind of. Or rather I will when I’ve more experience maybe. But I explained to him that the arc of a class also needed some overall coherence, be it an anatomical focus, an exploration of a value or a thought-habit, or a particular energetic quality. He summarised these considerations as a “contented shoulder or brave hip” class. 🙂

He clearly understood what I meant, but he nearly freaked me out with his look of amazement and wonder at how I might even begin to achieve this! But by the time I’d got home, changed, swept the floor and sat for some quiet moments I was feeling pretty good about the prospect of leading a practice. Nervous, sure, but just wanting to offer the best I could. My intention was set and it felt good.

As usual things didn’t go at all according to plan! But it was simply different than I expected and I adapted as soon as it was obvious that I needed to. I still got in all the elements I thought should be there. I talked coherently through a sensible sequence (OK a little confusing of left and right and I ran over time…). I offered cues that clearly made a difference in the bodies in front of me, I gave a demo where needed, I made a few adjustments, and I stopped them once to look at something in more detail and then had them repeat to check the difference. I gave just enough encouragement without straying into validating their practice and I wove my basic theme (yoga as inner exploration not outward performance — I was teaching two dancers after all!) in around the poses and touched in on it again in the closing moments.

Yes, it’s true — I was teaching! And actually it felt natural and beautiful and I could have gone on all night.

Afterwards they asked when we could do it again. And peeling them up off the mats and encouraging them to leave my house was the hardest part!

So all my recent agonising about whether I want to teach, what I might have to offer, whether I’m good enough or experienced enough… all these questions melted away in the act of just doing it. I feel more and more (oh yes, from my whole handful of experiences 😉 ) as though the practice of teaching is so much like the practice of yoga: I come to it full of doubts and expectations and leave it feeling cleansed and contented and whole.

But also like yoga practice I’m sure all these hesitancies and uncertainties will be waiting for me again next time.

To tell the truth, I’m kind of excited to face them.


8 thoughts on “Teaching truths

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      1. I hear that too… I certainly experienced feelings of self doubt regarding my competency as an English teacher right up to my retirement! And for sure as a yoga teacher, too. Humility is healthy, I think, as long as it doesn’t become paralysing. Realizing that something greater can work through us, that it’s not just our own little show – that’s key, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. mmm, yes – I’m working on the ‘healthy humility’. That is a rather special thing to cultivate I think. One day I’ll stop blathering on about teaching and it’ll just be something I do — like you! 🙂


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