Had we but world enough and time
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
One of my teachers asked me last week how my own teaching was going. “Really well” burst from my lips before my usual reticence caught up to the conversation. “As far as I can tell…” I added self-deprecatingly.
We joked a little about some teaching dilemmas we’d faced recently — how to handle the beginning of class when you’re feeling super flustered for some reason yourself and how the timing of a prepared sequence will always go wrong, no matter what length of class you’re aiming for. She had overshot massively for an anomalous two hour class, just as I struggle each week to get through a rounded practice in 45 minutes!
So because my teaching is going ‘really well’, with classes always over full, I have started offering a monthly additional class or small workshop for the more committed or interested students — either simply a longer guided practice or looking in more detail at some particular group of asanas. Given that the students pay me extra for this (outside their gym package) and it means coming back into the workplace on a Saturday morning, I’m amazed that this also works! Yes, my teaching must be going really well!
This past weekend was one such extra class, 75 minutes instead of 45. It still felt really short to me, but for some of them at least it’s the longest practice they’ve ever done so I didn’t go overboard with complicated sequencing or excessive rounds of fast sun salutes. We worked steadily, building up to a longer back-bending sequence than I can ever usually manage and still with enough time for some grounding closing postures and a decent savasana.
As a teacher this extra time was very welcome. It made me realise that I would probably feel better about my teaching abilities overall if all my classes could be this length. I loved how relatively unrushed it felt. I was able to introduce a theme at the start and had enough space to bring attention back to it during the flow. As I slowed the pace towards the close of class and within this smaller group, it was possible to be with individual students for a more generous amount of time, to guide them gently with my hands suggesting how they might work towards a more easeful posture, or showing how props might support them. I know they enjoy these moments with me and they want more one to one attention as a reassurance.
It was one of those classes when I felt like ‘a real yoga teacher’! It’s obvious to me now: of course I can’t manage all this so well in only 45 minutes, but that doesn’t make me a bad teacher 🙂 Actually the amount I cram into 45 minutes is perhaps amazing! The students do keep coming back, I remind myself again..
More time would solve all sorts of things. So that’s a siddhi worth achieving!