Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Class

This blog was started to chronicle my journey becoming a yoga teacher. Along the way I have gone on tangents, but today I want to bring it right back to the heart of the matter. Last night I was able to teach for the first time. Well, officially the second time, but it was my first real class.

The previous time I taught was at a Boys & Girls Club. There were only 5 girls between the ages of 7-12. They spent the entire time giggling, talking, putting in half effort, resting, cartwheeling, etc. So I don't really consider that teaching, it was more like babysitting.

My friend and fellow teacher training student, Michelle, set up this class with a local gymnastics club. There would be 2 classes - one with the gymnastics students and one with the coaches. We would take turns - each teaching one and assisting in the other. I really wanted the coaches class, because of my hellish experience with kids previously.

Michelle and I met and put together a flow and a playlist. We tried to incorporate everything we had learned up until this point - starting, building, intensifying, and using the fire inside. She mentioned me teaching first, which meant the student class. Crap. But I really wanted this experience and to get teaching.

I spent the next few days going over the class we had designed. I wanted to know it cold - no mistakes. As I drove to the class last night I ran through it outloud in my car. Thank goodness for handsfree phones nowadays so anyone passing me on the expressway probably assumed I was on the phone instead of talking to myself :)

Walking in I was pretty nervous. We were shown the room and got some mats ready. We figured out the stereo so our music was queued. And in walked the class. The girls seemed to range from 6 or 7 on up to early teens. Shoot. I had flashbacks of the unruly kids and the Boys & Girls Club. Suck it up, Jenn.

I got them in Child's Pose and a miraculous thing happened - they did it. No giggling. No looking around. No popping out of it after a moment. These girls had focus. When I started talking about deep breathing I saw their little backs rising and falling. They were listening! I spoke about stillness and saw their fidgeting stop. As we moved onto our first Sun Salutations, I saw real effort. It was amazing to watch these girls, so young, yet so disciplined.

We flowed through our Sun A's and Sun B's. Onto some balancing and deep lunging. Even during a Buddha Squat that would have broke most adults, they pushed through. These girls took Child's when needed - a brave move for anyone, admitting you need a break. Then they popped right back into the class. We had some fun with headstands, attempted an Inverted Lotus while in shoulderstand, and laid still in Savansa.

All in all, they were amazing. There is a saying that we are all eachother's students. Last night, I truly understood. Although I was the "teacher", I learned so much from that first class. They taught me how strong they could be. They taught me how humble they could be. They taught me how determined they could be. They made me recognize and retract my own judgements I had made about their age. What an incredible learning experience.

Can't wait for the next class!!!!

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