Today was my first day teaching yoga. During the drive home, my eyes welled up with tears. The sun was shining. Birds, odd for this time of year, were flying in beautiful formation in the cloudless sky. Why the tears when things are so rosy? From the inner warmth, love, and deep gratitude for the friends who shared their positive energy and practiced with me on my maiden voyage.
We all have to start somewhere, of course. I used lots of notes. Apologized a few times. Forgot to reiterate the importance of ujjayi breath, ocean-sounding, swirling in the back of your throat breath, throughout the class. “Oh, by the way, next time breath in and out through your nose the whole 75 minutes” might not have been warmly received.
With my friends and fellow teachers-in-training by my side [shout-out to fabulous Camille Marchese and Bernardina Torrey] and the encouraging, positive faces of the wondrous women in the studio (that’s exactly how I felt about you all), my nervous stomach began to calm. From time to time, I could look away from the notes and feel the asanas along with the class. Baby steps.
Earlier in the day I ran into one of my first teachers, Melissa Leach, who recently returned from Baptiste Level 3 training (she’s amazing). She offered such important advice: Embrace where you are; enjoy it. And so I encouraged everyone to do the same – those who came to begin a yoga practice, those who came to renew a dormant one, and those who were there to explore their own practice. And I embraced the joyful beginning of my teaching, which isn’t very different from being a student. We’re always students.
Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about how to reach goals, find the pose, attain proficiency in a skill, or get somewhere – physically or in our minds. But to be ok with where we are, how our body looks, how good we are at something today is ultimately freeing, relaxing, and part of the path to contentment. Celebrate the triumphs and accomplishments, but don’t be driven by them or get too attached.
More to ponder on this point, for sure, but wanted to stop in and bow to the grace witnessed today.
- How B.K.S. Iyengar Kicked My Asana. (elephantjournal.com)