My regular weekly semi-private has finished for the year now. The girls are busy with pre-Xmas stuff next week and then I’m travelling over the Christmas period visiting far-flung family. They were (gratifyingly!) disappointed that I wasn’t around more to continue teaching them once they were done with their parties. It reminded me of years past when undergraduates used to ask how I’d fill my summer when their classes had finished. Somehow they couldn’t believe I had my own work to get back to and their classes were just a side-show in my life compared to the real thing!
Following advice from a fellow blogger (thank you k8!) I’ve (almost) resolved not to leap back into teaching the moment I’m recovered from jet lag at the start of January. But I say ‘almost’ since I’m needing to set this as an intention to adhere to, or my resolve will fade and I’ll be scheduling teaching again as soon as I can.
It’s funny that it already feels like a regular fixture of life and something that makes me smile whenever I think of it. It’s a secret satisfaction. I’m not that great at it, for sure. Practice, practice all is coming definitely applies to teaching also. But the rhythms and requirements of it are already sneaking into my practice and the structure of my week. As I wander to and from work I play through possible transitions, mentally run through a set-up checklist and the key actions for poses I’ve not taught before, I let my mind sift through my own recent experiences on and off the mat and consider what I might share and why. What can I teach this week — and how? What inspiration or insight might I offer? Or do I put aside all the thoughts this week and just immerse them in the beautiful physicality of moving their bodies through the rise and fall of a structured sequence?
It’s becoming an interesting interplay of practice and teaching in a way that I could not foresee when I fretted to my teacher at the start of training about how to manage my own practice and how to reconcile what I did on the mat with what I was being asked to learn to teach. That was only a few months ago and I can’t say it’s all just magically cohering already, but I see glimpses of how it might develop. Hubby talks about research-led teaching in a university context. He keeps his teaching vital and energetic by basing it in part on his current research and the book he’s writing. It’s kind of that in yoga too I think: I’m exploring my own practice and sharing from this what I think might be helpful or interesting.
But before I finish completely for the year there’s still a one-to-one session to fit in with a complete beginner. A totally different type of practice needing a different approach. My beginner brain with her beginner body, but also my teacher-brain, my experience and my intuition. It feels a wonder to me that I am doing this — and yet it feels a perfectly natural offering too, once I stop fretting about inexperience or lack of knowledge. I have enough.
And finally at Christmas time the family have asked me to guide them in practice — on the beach! Another new experience. I’m smiling at the absurdity of it. But it also feels like the best seasonal gift ever to have this new dimension to life. It’s not exactly peace and goodwill to all mankind but I must believe that my efforts contribute something good to those around me.