Private Gigs can be Cancelled

My private gig was late on Sunday.  Okay, my private lesson was late and then cancelled.  When I received the first text requesting late, I was a little miffed, but I agreed.  When it got a lot late and I was getting hungry and ready to move on with my day – well, that’s where I found myself glad that I don’t do yoga teaching for my only means of support.

When she had requested late, she hadn’t specified how late and at the really late mark I was feeling jerked around.  My text to her at the hour late mark (I can’t believe I waited an hour), “Do you want to do this next week instead?”  For all the things I wanted to say, I kept it simple.  And nicer than I felt.

It actually really pissed me off to be hanging here waiting for somebody.  And it isn’t until just now that I can see how thoughtless, how unaccepting I am of other people’s problems.  I was thinking total jerk thoughts…okay, just for an hour maybe.  It just goes to show me that I am no angel, I am no bodhisattva, I’m no yogini.  I am just another Joesephine with an agenda.  Being a yoga-meister does not make me better, or more accepting or enlightened.  I’m still who I am.

And I am truly sorry she started her day off with a flat tire.  It’s no way to start anyone’s day.  I’m sorry she didn’t feel the need to share that with me until late.  We will try again next week.

Heat of the Sun

Heat of the Sun

It’s been cold outside.  The room we use for Friday Drop-In isn’t so wonderfully warm.  As I walked into our room yesterday I felt a hollow chill.  I am missing the sun.  It wasn’t hard to mentally change up my practice plans for the day.  Sun Salutations.  We needed sun salutations.

This is a mid-day class.  I tend to go slow.  I do a lot of explaining.  We breathe deep into our postures.  Those that can go deeper into a posture have plenty of time to do so.  I stay away from postures and pacing that is going to send anyone back to their workstation with sweaty faces or fresh body odor.  We do a quiet set of postures.  We release tension and open ourselves up to breathing.

Yesterday though, yesterday we needed to warm up this room.  I’m glad I  decided that.  Three people showed up in sweatshirts.  Two women in the group have never done yoga other than with me and we’ve not been at it very long.  So together the whole group did the first salutation while I did a lot of explanation.  I’m sure I was huffing through the inhale and exhales while I called them out.  I tried to gather my breath in Samastiti – Hand to Heart Center.  Then I let everyone know we are going to do the same motions for the other side.  This second side I shortened the cues.  I was able to breathe better.  It was good to see that everyone was keeping up.

As a group, we went through three full Sun Salutations (each side) today.  Sweatshirts came off.  There was too much activity for Resting B*tch Face to set in.  The Warrior Series was relaxing after the salutations.  I guided the group into a severely modified Flying Warrior (Virabhadrasana III) as the key posture today.  It just seemed to want to happen, as if I meant this to be the peak pose.

Seated and Floor postures suffered.  There just wasn’t any time left.  And time was already out as I guided my merry band to relax in Savasana.  I am so thankful there is no clock in that room.  More than once I have played with time to get one more thing in.  My band of merry yogis has no idea.

Savasana was pitifully short, a minute and a half, maybe.  I am not sure anyone had enough time to let go and relax plus incorporate their practice into their bodies yesterday.

Thing is, it’s all good.  As this merry band of yogis walked the hall I heard everyone mention how very relaxed they felt.  I even heard, “more than usual”.   And they were all walking comfortably as if they were actively relaxed.  I need to remember this.

Note to Self on benefits of repeated Sun Salutations:

  1. No time for Resting B*tch Face.
  2. An active relaxed mode sets in.

And everyone continues to breathe.


There is Always One – the Individual

I have one student, that does not follow along with the class. She’s My Individual.  She does her asanas as she wants to.  It is beyond interpreting my cues.  No, she out-right does her own sequence.

As everyone closese their eyes at the beginning of class, I have quit closing my eyes.  I need to keep them open to see what my Individual is up to.  Repeated suggestions and recommendations to place her bum higher than her ankles on a bolser or a blanket in an easy cross-legged pose just isn’t going anywhere.  Everyone else is seated on a bolster and on blankets.  My Individual is purposefully the only student to stay seated on the mat.  She likes being the only one.  I recognize it is her yoga, her way.  She also doesn’t stay seated as long as the group does.  It is all I can do to keep the pace of the class even and still be sure my Individual is in an asana nearby.

This week, after a couple of warm up moves, I was guiding the class back into child pose before we kick it up a notch.  I look up from my own child pose to see My Individual is not in a child pose at all, but is threading the needle.  I realize that she probably does like yoga and that she is very comfortable in class.  I realize that I am not progressing through the postures in the manner she would prefer. I also realize there is nothing I can say that will get her to stay with the group.  She will do what she will do when she wants to do it.

For now I have come to the conclusion that I am not the one guiding her through postures.  I am, by default, giving her a space to guide herself.  The best I can do with this one – and I have spent a couple days considering what to do with this – is to keep an eye on her to be sure she is not going to do any damage and that she is doing the postures as well as possible.

The rest of the class is absorbed in their own practice.  Some have their eyes closed.  Most are looking off into the distance, soft gazes (beautiful drsti) unaware for the most part that my Individual is checking her shoulders hard to the right and then hard to the left.  (Oh, I so want to say something)  As long as My Individual is doing well, is not disturbing the rest of the class, and continues to join us for yoga, I’m happy.  I can’t say she hasn’t caused me some concern.  There is nothing I can truly do from here.  She is happy to come to class.  I wonder that she would feel stifled in a private class.  She would probably tell me it holds her too accountable.

Now that I have resigned myself to her yoga, her way…she makes me smile.  I think yoga may be her recess.

The Friend Effect

In my lifetime I have seen people become friends simply by spending time together.  That’s all it takes.  There may be no other “thing” in common, only the time we spend together, yet quite naturally we become friends.  Things in common will increase with the amount of time we spend together.  I suppose it is a no-brainer, yet I am always a little surprised to realize we have become friends.

There is a Friend Effect going on with the Friday group.  Every week now as we get together, once a week is all, just one and now several of the group hang back while each person cleans their mat and rolls it up.  They wait for each other as shoes are put back on.  The chatting I overhear is both job related and weekend related.  They leave the room in subsets, little groups.

This week the whole group waited for me before anyone left the room.  I put the room back the way it was when I came in.  I roll the cart of mats, straps and cleaner into the closet and close it back again.  This is a multi-purpose room.  I re-set the lighting back to how we found it as well.  I grab the bundle of used towels to drop them in the soiled linens bin.  I look around for left articles from my group or myself.  I just never hurry leaving the room.  I kind of relish the time.  I like feeling responsible for getting everything back as it was.  So for the group, en masse, to be waiting for me was flattering.

I didn’t notice at first.  Everyone was chatting as they do.  I asked a question for clarification is all.  The talk continued around me as I took care of business.  I was half listening.  As we all walked down the hall together is when I realized they had waited for me.  I felt part of the group.

I suppose it was bound to happen.  We see each other once a week.  I put the room back together for the next group without even thinking about it these days. In other words, I wasn’t asking to be included.  It was organic and I am feeling rather blessed today while we continued to breathe.

What is in a Certificate?

The minimum certification for a trained yoga teacher is the RYT200 Yoga Alliance Certification.  It states that the individual had completed a 200 hour course of training; an RYT – Registered Yoga Training.  There are a lot of good teachers out there with no formal or registered training.  They are good because they do the work, or they’ve been teaching far longer than a training program has been certified.

I still find myself looking at Bio’s of teachers at studios I want to visit for the highest trained individual, or the one with the most interesting training.  My training isn’t that interesting.  It is for me, but I’m not sure that translates into an interesting Bio to anyone else.  That’s a separate blog posting, “Writing my Bio”.  I haven’t written it yet.  The Bio or the post.

I have the 200 hour registered yoga teaching certificate.  I was looking into what it takes to get the next designation.  What will it take for me to be considered above this level?  What is my commitment at this point?  It’s a time commitment AND a financial committment.  Does anyone understand that these designations are running around $3,500 USD each at this time?

There seem to be two designations directly available to me as the next step to be a wise and wonderful yogi.  One is the RYT 500.  The other is the E-RYT 200.  It seems I can carry both designations if I want to.

The RYT 500 is pretty straight forward.  Its 500 hours (total) of Yoga Teacher Training.  I have 200 already, this designation only takes 300 more training hours.  I don’t know how much that will cost, but it will.  Two other requirements must be met.  I will need to complete and record one hundred hours of teaching, for one.  The other is an upgrade fee.  Not too expensive, but yep, more money.  If we can’t make money on yoga why are we promoting it?

The E-RYT 200 is the other designation.  E stands for experience.  For this designation I must complete 1,000 teaching hours.  I’ve been teaching weekly now for about six months.  But not every week as the room isn’t available for the Friday group on occasion or my private lesson gig goes on vacation.   I have not reached 100 hours yet.  For every single class, without fail, both private and group, I am learning so very much about the people I am working with.  I am learning about reactions and needs and expectations of people.  I am learning about the response of our bodies – not just mine any more.  It is such an honor and privilege to guide every one of them.  1,000 teaching hours is training that reaches above regular yogi classroom hours.  I would be proud to hold the E-RYT 200 designation.  Sure there’s an additional fee, and sure I need to be a registered teacher for 2 years.  I’m getting closer to the two year mark every day.

A thousand hours is a long time coming.  Today, as I type this, I have 38 hours on the books.  That’s it.  Six months for less than 40 hours.  A thousand hours is huge from here.  If I double my teaching hours next year I could potentially be around 220 hours for both years.  That 1,000 hours of teaching is seven to eight years away from me.  Well yeah, I will want to pick up more teaching gigs; as I get better at this.  These first hours are so unsure, or still so new and I am feeling too fresh still.

E-RYT – Experienced.  Let’s see how long this takes me.  Let’s see what I can learn along the way.

Why I am Not an Expert Yet

There is more to life than yoga.  I know…blasphemy.

Like most folks I know I have a hard time turning off the television.  If the television is off then my computer is on.   Usually they are both active, television and the internet.  Nothing is as hungry for taking up my time as internet.   I am in constant contact with media and advertising and brain-washing…I know better than to kid myself.  I’m not going to tell you that my personal media immersion is all from PBS and self-betterment sites.  I’ve had my fill of self-improvement affliction.  Still, I do love me some TedTalks,  I like just as well peeking in on my family and friends on Facebook.  If I would get off these media sites and power down I would be a whole lot closer to being a yoga expert.  Or an expert on anything for that matter.

I’m almost an expert at fishing.  When I am powered down I am probably out on the boat, fishing.  I would be an expert at fishing, but that is nonsensical.  Only fish are expert at fishing.

Ain’t no big Thang

I’m supposed to write of who I am, to write from inside of me.  I am to do those things that feed my soul, that make me feel comfortable with myself and where I am.

When I guide yoga, I am always unsure.  I am unsure if I come out too strong, If I am not fun, if these postures are hurtful or too hard.  I want to look out over my students and see them in good form, better than last time.  I’m not sure they are.  I don’t know when I have done it right.

The Friday classes are only two and three times a month.  How can this possibly be helpful?  Is there ANY benefit to just three times a month?

And am I doing the thing that brings me joy.  Is joy part of learning to do this?  Is the joy in the learning?  Are the students feeling the joy?  I have had positive feedback.  Is this only because they do not want to be negative nellies?

I am told my pacing is good.  I am told the Savasana is wonderful – and so yes, we are able to leave on a good note.  I want to be better.  Just as important I want to feel good that this is in fact what I am supposed to be doing.  I like doing yoga.  I like doing yoga with people.  Am I  an instructor?  I don’t want to give this up without giving it my honest and authentic heart.  I will know if it truly fets.  Maybe I am to  be among the crowd, and not in front of the crowd.

Maybe I am too early to pass judgement on myself.  We are our own harshest critics.  This is a tough idea.  I would kick myself years from now to wathc a woman my age in front of a class, showing her insecurities and still being a teacher.  I am good at not sharing my insecurities in front of the group.    Regardless of how I feel.  I am better than some, I have more heart than many.  I can do this well, and it will cover me like a glove, a nice skin tight yoga suit to be proud of.

My life is not yoga right now.  There is too much life beyond any yoga or spritiual notion.  There is more life to live than just “on the mat” or “off the mat”.  There is more life off the mat than I will ever live on it.  I love yoga.  But, it is merely the prep time that I spend before I go on to life.

I can wear this yoga instructor well.  And I can live off the mat, and I do for gawd’s sake live it well, off the mat.  I love me my football, and my martinis and my sweet love and children.  I enjoy my job, even while I want to replace it with a yoga job.  I have dreams and aspirations of the beach house,  and friedns coming to stay the weekend, and holidays with all the family surrounding us.  I have recipes to conquer and garden’s to plant, and moon travel that I want for a birday treat.  I have my convertible, and my frequestn flyer myles and I have a list an arm long of all the places I want to visit.  There is so much life outside this yoga…that even as I write thes you must know, you must be clear that an hour on the mat every other day is a very strong practice.  Meditations for fifteen minutes every single day, every day, every one is essential for stability and dream realizations.  And it’s only fifteen minutes.  Yoga isn’t necessary for dreams to realize.  Meditation is.  Medidtaion IS essentioal to happiness.  If we don’t have time to relax and feel our happiness, there is no happy.  And happy is important in a successful life.

My life is already successful.  Yoga feels good.  Meditation reminds me that I am happy, and for all the right reasons.

Am I a yoga teacher?  I dunno, I have only just started. I wonder if I can teach happy in yoga.  Maybe I need to teach “Aint no big thang” in yoga.  I don’t teach often enough to get across any philosophy really.  Its hard to choose a philosophy in front of the mats when I don’t get in front of the mats very often.  Three times a month for the group and once on Sundays for my private patron.  We all want to have fun, to stay away from resting b*tches, to walk away from class smiling and content.

That’s all there is to it, it ain’t no big thang that we continue to breathe.