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always a student, sometimes a teacher.

November 7, 2011

My Teacher Trainging Group - 2006

This fall, marks my five year anniversary of teaching Anusara Yoga!  FIVE freaking years and I still feel like a newbie. It’s amazing how time flies and how like anything that you put your mind to there are highs and lows, peaks and plateaus.  But here I am now finally coming up for air and gearing up to start video taping my classes to move closer to full on Anusara Certification Status.  It’s a long road but totally worth it, and I’ve only just begun.

Last week, I had the honor of taking a class of a fellow yogi, Amanda, along with my teacher who was observing Amanda for her Anusara-Inspired Status.  It was after our crazy snow in October storm and as luck would have it there were three teachers taking the class along with a regular.  It was a great experience to just be there and take class – to be a student.  At the end Amanda commented on how great it was to have three of her teachers taking her class.  I thought about that during class – how I was actually a teacher of hers and that here I was taking her class!  I thought, this must be one of the best things to experience as a teacher that your student gets to teach you; it was a very sweet realization.

There’s a new crop of teachers coming up at our studio.  The three-part Immersion ended over the summer and the Teacher Training has begun.  I arrived after the first weekend to teach my class and I saw a group of totally overwhelmed future teachers with that look in their eyes.  If you are a teacher you know that look, you have felt that feeling and fear behind that look – the, how the hell am I ever going to be a teacher and somehow put all this stuff I am learning into a class? – look.  The thing I heard over and over again was – it’s just so much information!  So to you teacher trainees, it’s been heavy on my heart to share this.  By no means am I finished and perfect – I’m still polishing all the roughness and enjoying the ride, I just thought you could use some encouragement and love and know that we’ve all been there with that look and that fear.

I thought back to my first class that I was basically pushed into after my Teacher Trainer – Vishali – said to me, OK it’s time you are subbing my class this weekend.  It’s one thing to teach your first class but a totally different and overwhelming experience to sub for your teacher who also happened to be the owner of the studio!  But I sucked it up and planned a class.  I remember shaking and freaking out before the class started as I greeted the students with a frozen-fear smile.  And then just before I walked into the studio and took the teachers seat, I took a moment to say a little prayer.

The prayer was more of an affirmation.

I said to myself…. ok self, you have great teachers and had a great training and you’ve taken numerous classes and done countless practice teaching sessions —  and you have all the information and skills that you need right now, I am just going to be open to letting it flow.

The class was probably a colossal fail if you looked at what I had planned and what we really did.  It could have been better than whatever it came out as but it was the first of many times of me being an instrument of all this knowledge and beauty.   When I look back at my notebooks from those days, I took copious notes – but as time went on I just listened more and let each teaching sort of infuse me, the notes became more succinct and teaching became a little more from the heart.  There were many times when I walked out thinking – I need to quit this, that class was a total failure, but those were the times that someone would come up and tell me how one little thing really spoke to them.

Amazingly we have these Universal Principles of Alignment in Anusara that really help in I’d say almost all parts of our lives.  Here  are some things to remember as a burgeoning teacher or even for those of us already well along our path:

  • Open to Grace – all you need to do is be open to wherever you are right now (RIGHT NOW – being the key words here).   There’s always more to experience and more Grace to open to.  All that info from the hundreds of hours of Immersing and Training is a tremendous waterfall of goodness and you can just stick your toes in and go from there.  Grace is the sheer beauty that you actually have an intelligent and sophisticated system that backs you up if you just let yourself be that instrument.
  • Muscular Energy – I like to think about this as tapping into your strengths; you have to flex the muscles you have.  Just like in the asana’s you work the smaller muscles to make a difference with the bigger ones — and that comes by practice.  The first class you ever took had you use muscles you never knew you had and it’s the same with teaching classes – you will feel sore in your ego your confidence and whatever else takes a hit, overall it’s about conditioning.  Every time you feel like you fall down, just pick yourself back up and try again.
  • Inner & Outer Spiral – Find what makes sense to you and keep it simple.  If it doesn’t make sense to you quite yet, keep it for your own studies and use was makes sense and feels right to keep you and your students on the same page.  Remember that just because we sit at the front of the room doesn’t mean you are the only one teaching – I feel as a teacher I became a better student in every aspect and all of those revelations make you serve yourself and others more fully.
  • Organic Expansion – Move from your heart.  You’ve taken a lot of classes think about the ways you can be sincere and work on creating your own unique voice to all of the information that you have learned.  Sincerity and truth go a long way!  As much as you hold yourself to some criteria and beat yourself up for not following it, be open to the fact that the students don’t know when you go off script and out of what you think is a fabulous theme or sequence it’s the little things that you can’t even plan that really touch people.  When you move from your heart, other people can feel it.

So, SMY (and any other) future teachers – I can’t wait to take your class.  There’s nothing like hearing that first OM and realizing that the sweetness that you know and love as yoga is now something that you offer to others.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2011 1:48 pm

    Thank you, Nicole!! xx

  2. Joan Gordon permalink
    November 18, 2011 9:44 pm

    so true and so meaningful

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