Sweet! How I Nailed Teaching My First Yoga Class
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I am embarrassed to admit that, for a few years after winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I actually resented the fact that I was an Olympian. Of course, I understood that it is a Read
The day was imminent, and I was not happy about it. When I get nervous about something, I get grouchy. I don’t want to talk about it, or be around people. Serious nerves give me a stomach-ache, and make my palms sweat, and throat dry. Bad combo for teaching a yoga class, to say the least.
And yet there I was, pulling into the parking lot of my very first class as a teacher. I was subbing the class, so I had that against me along with all the other ailments. I was going to be teaching in a gym I had never been in, so I arrived early.
Because I was so nervous I wanted to puke and it was my first ever class, the following hilarity was only bound to happen: The group fitness room was an open space with only three walls, and opened onto a paddleboard court (in which people were playing. Loudly.) The only CDs in the room were for the Zumba classes. And the first person to walk into the room told me she brought her friend along who had never done yoga and had a back injury.
I had about 20 minutes to make the decision to either run to my car and hide, or trust my knowledge. I didn’t do a 200-hour teacher training for nothing. I decided right then to take a yogic approach to teaching: one pose at a time.
I put a random CD I thankfully had in my car into the stereo, and brought the room into a forward fold. They couldn’t see me. I took a deep breath.
And I taught.
All the nerves, the dry throat, the sweaty palms – gone. I just shared with 15 people the practice I love so much. None of them knew it was my first class. And several students came up to me afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed it.
I was practically levitating back to my car when it was over. I had done it. In fact, I had killed it. And although I practiced my sequence at home beforehand for my yogi-felines, what really got me through it was just doing what I know – and doing what I love.
I’m just a few weeks in to being an actual yoga teacher, and each class I’ve taught has taught ME something new. About myself, about the practice, and about why people show up to yoga classes. Some have asked me why I want to teach, and my answer has been, well, I’m not sure I want to yet. But I’m giving it a try.
So far, so good.
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