Instruction is Not Practice for Myself

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.

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