It was around this time last year that I taught my first yoga class. I’m not going to lie: It will not go down in the history of classes to remember. I was petrified. My heart was racing so hard, I’m sure everyone could hear it beating. I’d meticulously planned a sequence, but forgot some things and did other things in the wrong order. I felt like a fraud and wondered how anyone could possibly think it was worth the money.
To my amazement, some people came back.
Over the past twelve months I’ve often reflected on who I am as a teacher, how I wish to be perceived, what message I’m trying to put out there. At times, I’ve struggled to find my identity. I have compared myself (perhaps inevitably) to other teachers who all seem to exude a confidence and sense of ease that I felt I did not possess. One year on, I feel I’m finally in a place where I’m more comfortable simply being who I am and teaching what my heart tells me, rather than try my hardest to imitate my favorite teachers. What’s the point in trying to be anyone but yourself, right?
Having spent a lot of time thinking about what’s important to me in my role as a teacher, I wanted to share it with you. Whether you come to my class or just happen to be reading this blog, these are the things I’d like you to know:
- It’s not about me and what I can do. It’s only ever about YOU.
- I care about you. I want to know your name and hear your story.
- I’d hate for you to suffer in silence (in my class or anyone else’s). If something feels wrong, please tell me. How it feels matters more than how it outwardly looks. I won’t forcefully adjust you into a position just to make it “look right”. Only YOU can feel what’s going on inside your body.
- I don’t want you to walk out of my class feeling inadequate. There’s no need to keep up or compete with anyone else. Being able to do a fancy pose does not make you in some way a better person. You are wonderful just the way you are.
- There’s an ongoing debate in the yoga world about whether your teacher can or should also be your friend. My opinion is this: When you’re in my class, I am your friend.