The name for my yoga business is “Yoga with Friends”. Being a yoga instructor has kind of changed all that, but I still like the name. The intention was that I would have friends to do yoga with. I now see that my own yoga practice is not actually available while I am guiding others. To be the instructor I find I am demonstrating the posture and then scanning the group for alignment and facial expressions. While I breathe into a posture, it is more for show than to actually feel the deepening for myself. I don’t know why I thought being a yoga teacher would allow me to do more yoga (and be paid for it). I still have to carve out time in my day for my own practice.
I see that even more now that I am instructing others I need to kick it up a notch for my own practice. I am a better guide in class when I have myself well-grounded. Yoga with Friends has morphed as I am shifting my focus to the friends in front of me. In my classes I am doing yoga for friends more than with friends. No, I don’t expect to change the name. It will stay Yoga with Friends.
Yoga teachers still take yoga classes. I spend more time in classes than I do teaching yoga to others. Of course, I am a better teacher for it. Some classes I take for myself, to deepen my own practice. Some classes I like to go to because they have sequencing or cueing that helps me guide the people in my classes. Either way it is a compliment to all of my teachers that they help me be a better instructor.
The more advanced classes, Level II, I enjoy for my own stretching. The Level I classes and All Level classes I like for the review (again and again) of the basics.
When teaching a class I have to take into account the lowest common denominator. The person that is new to yoga has to be my main focus. Everyone that knows what a Sun Salutation is knows how to follow along. For those new to yoga I repeat the sequence, the alignment cues, the left and right of the postures. For the comfort of everyone I do not allow myself to go any deeper into a pose than the least flexible person in the room. I take that back, I do go deeper and I show the next fullest expression of the posture for those that are ready to try that added benefit. Then I come back to the level of the newest member and keep my eyes on the group.
People don’t want to admit to not knowing the postures. I can tell who they are. It’s okay, there’s usually more than one person that is trying something for the first time. I have to keep it slow, basic, informed. We all end together regardless of the level of experience. And we continue to breath.