Prep for teaching today: a couple of hours on the sofa, clutching a hot water bottle against my stomach cramps, a box of tissues within hand’s reach. I have a cold and it’s rocked my system a bit overall; it doesn’t take much to throw me off balance. It’s OK, it’ll pass, I know that. I’m past the time when such ephemeral symptoms really bother me. It’s just a patience game now until equilibrium is restored.
And I so much want to teach today. The girls have been asking to start up class again and I feel like I have something to offer them, something they want — and need. I feel this more strongly than before, a tiny step closer towards being comfortable in the role of teacher, a tiny step towards it being really about them not me.
So 20 minutes before they’re due, I haul myself off the sofa and onto the mat. Time for a quick stretch out to assess what physical capacity I have and whether I’m likely to chunder if I’m in Downdog (a reassuring ‘no’ to this enquiry, you’ll be pleased to hear!). Then a final check that everything is ready for them and a few moments left to sit quietly, gathering myself in order to offer something out.
And as so often happens this class went better than I might have expected given the circumstances. Not glossy and polished, but from the heart and honest. They were tired and rusty (no practice since before Christmas) so we took it slowly and I encouraged exploration and acceptance. I rolled through the warmup and beginning of the standing sequence with them. I don’t usually demonstrate much, only particular poses if they’re something new or I see something I don’t like in their shapes. But today it felt right to walk the walk and explore my own physical limitations a little even as I was asking them to. I felt they needed some solidarity rather than scrutiny, some energy in finding a flow and steady support in inhabiting the holds.
And suddenly I realise that I’m not at all shy about this physical exposure. I’m not worried about being found out as rubbish at āsana, I’m not anxious about how to find enough breath and rhythm to talk through anatomical and breath cues even as I move myself. It just happens OK. OK enough for teaching two people, let’s say.
And although it’s not about me (of course!), I feel quietly proud of how this class went. One of them looked a bit shaken by the end — in a good way. She said I’d really moved her. I consider that a worthwhile bit of teaching then. The āsana is simply the vehicle after all.