On Teaching. Or not.

February 4, 2011 § 3 Comments

I taught (yoga) for the first time a few weeks ago. After a messy and emotional week, on an incredibly busy weekend, I had 10 minutes to convey a few poses to my fellow trainees. It was 10 minutes of heart thumping struggle to find my breath and (Please! Where is it?!) my voice. I perspired more in those 10 little minutes than I did in all our intense physical practices that weekend. I may have also cursed. But as I had trouble speaking at all, I’m not entirely sure it was audible. There was a lot of dead air.

[I did not sign up for this training to become a teacher]. Why then, was this so tough? If I don’t want to teach, why so scared?

The aftermath was better. No tears (those were for the physical practices – did I mention they were INTENSE?), none of my old frustration or anger or internal abuse, just a calm evaluation and acknowledgment. This is where I am right now. That apparently means I have trouble speaking. If I have to do this as part of my training, it doesn’t mean I have to be proficient at it right now – or ever for that matter – considering again that [I did not sign up for this training to become a teacher].

I did find it a bit ironic that the hard work of the poses reduced me to tears when the teaching trial did not (Between the sweat & the tears I produced my own tiny inland sea). Becoming emotional in practice is not a foreign concept to me, but in recent memory if I’m a puddle over practice it’s most often the act of observing or writing that brings it up (and usually, blessedly, in PRIVATE). I was pretty kind to myself about the public tears too. “Getting rid of stuff!” I said – chocking it up to an emotional release of the prior week. But now, going into our next training weekend, I find myself working very hard to avoid a repeat of those first sweaty 10 minutes.

Through the generosity and patience of friends (Mostly T. And one other dear friend who volunteered her practice time to me last night), I have had a bit of practice since last month. And now suddenly my mind is filled with pose alignment and phrasing, explanation, metaphor, sequencing. I cannot focus and meditation this morning felt like a waste of time. For all I was so kind to myself a few weeks ago, NOW, I find myself wanting to be good at this. Wanting to pass on the sweetness of a shoulder adjustment at the right moment, the love of moving and working my body, the practice of acceptance and equanimity. Now, I am INVESTED. [I did not sign up for this training to become a teacher]. [I did not sign up for this training to become a teacher]. [I did not sign up for this training to become a teacher].

I am breathing. This is where I am right now (Scared. Attached.) I will not be good at this right away. I did not enter this world walking (or standing on my head). I may never achieve some poses that I work toward. I may never be GOOD at this, the poses, the practice, the teaching. But I am in the process. I am breathing. I am good at that, sometimes. Mostly when I’m not thinking about it – and then it just happens.

§ 3 Responses to On Teaching. Or not.

  • heatherknits says:

    I think this is really promising – you took a huge step, and it wasn’t perfect, and it’s fine! (How much do I relate to this process?) And now, being invested means that you have the power to succeed. I’m surprised to see you write that you may never be good at this – I don’t believe that. Is this a way of preempting disappointment for not achieving what you intend? I think your observation of being invested is really interesting, too, and the results that has on your reaction to the process.

  • MayaB says:

    Well, sometimes life makes choices for us as well… I used to believe that I was meant to be a filmmaker, making thought provoking radical documentaries that would change the world. Now I communicate through a tiny knitting shop in London.

    We were two girls in a group of four completing our MDs in media production. The girl I studied with now owns and teaches at a yoga center in Norway.

    none of us are making movies…for now

  • […] months ago, I didn’t plan to teach at all. Couldn’t even conceive of it. So I’m embracing this, holding it in. Everything that I have […]

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