When I first started teaching yoga classes, I had expected some surprises. I had expected to feel a little awkward, to mix up my sides, to demonstrate at weird angles, and say things that didn’t make any sense. I had expected the odd stink-eye from students who couldn’t follow what I was saying or thought my teaching was silly or, worse, lacklustre.
I made preparations to deal with these encumbrances. I practiced and practiced – both alone and with somewhat willing volunteers (mostly people related to me). I read widely, watched YouTube videos, and attended more classes to get in tune with other teacher’s approaches and styles. Despite my
best efforts, when I actually started teaching I was in for a shocker.
I realised in my first class that when people are doing yoga, it’s with absolute concentration and intensity – total focus and intent with no time or space for smiling! Egad! Students in my classes can even look a bit… ferocious. They are usually working hard, which is good, but at the same time, it can be very difficult as a teacher to sense whether students are enjoying themselves or not. I mean, isn’t that what yoga is about? Improving yourself, reaching your goals and realising a sense of peace and/or happiness?
Trust me, I do not escape blame myself. I have brought attention towards how hard I work for my teachers in class and how little I smile in poses. This has changed in recent weeks. Now I try to grin and laugh, even when it’s hard and sweaty, or I’m trying my best to focus.
My suggestion? Work hard, but bring a little softness around the edges. Instead of an apple, give a little smile to your teacher! They will appreciate it!