Take it or leave it; it’s all an offering…

When I’m talking to people who are interested in trying yoga, I tell them to try multiple studios, teachers, and styles of yoga. That’s one of the beautiful things about yoga these days, is that there’s SO many different ways to do it! If you stick with it and shop around a bit, you’ll find the style/studio/teacher that you vibe with. 

Vibing with yoga is a beautiful thing. We all have had that teacher that we just love, that we leave her (or his!) class with our mind blown. She inspires us, pushes us, nurtures us. We sweat, move, breathe, feel, relax, and all of the sudden we get that yoga craze. We find the studio that feels like home, where we have a community of teachers and practitioners that come together in a beautiful way. And maybe a juice bar if you’re lucky. 

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: teaching yoga is like no other job out there. It’s physical, the wellbeing of the practitioners and their experience is my focus, there’s rigorous training and education that never ends, there’s a lot of stigma with the field (both positive and negative), there’s a historical spiritual and mental component… Teaching a class is both energizing and exhausting. I have to hold space for everyone in the class, which for my classes is a high energy, fun, upbeat space. While also leading them through a flow and making sure they are safe in their alignment. The style I teach is pretty common in the West, but is also definitely not the only type of yoga to be found by far. 

Most yoga teachers have completed numerous trainings and have at the very least basic anatomical knowledge. Many meditate and have a daily practice in or out of a studio. Many also constantly continue their education and seek inspiration, whether it’s a new pose from Instagram, a clinic or training with a teacher, or reading the latest Mary Oliver poem. Even with all of this, yoga teachers do not know it all! We know there is infinite amount of knowledge out there which can never be acquired. That’s part of the beauty of it all. 

Photo by Stark Portraits

A major part of our job is to share our experience with everything listed out above. We learn a new cue from another teacher, and try it out in our classes. We hear a new song on the radio and put it on our playlist. We use a mantra in our meditation and set that as the intention of our classes that week. We share our practice and inspirations with you, the students. When you walk through the door of the studio, unless you tell us otherwise, we have no idea what’s going on in your life. When I talk about something before class, I don’t know that you had a rough day, that you’re going through a divorce, that all you want to do is flow. When I offer handstand in class, I have no idea that you’re healing from a shoulder injury, that you’re pregnant, that you’ve never tried handstand and are terrified. 

When I show up to teach yoga class, I’m offering…pretty much everything. Every time I offer a pose, transition, or intention, it’s just that: an offering. I openly say, “take it or leave it” in my class (always with a smile!). To please do what’s best for your body today on your mat. When I share an intention, it’s something that resonated with me in my practice or in my life recently. I’m not calling anyone out, I’m not trying to shove an idea down your throat, I’m not trying to turn class into a sermon. All I’m doing is giving you the option to think about an idea that has resonated with me lately during your practice. 

And that’s the kicker about being a yoga teacher. It’s a part of me. When I’m teaching, I’m sharing a part of myself with my students. While setting an intention, I’m opening up to my classes by sharing personal stories and vulnerabilities. I am the teacher, and the teacher is me, a 26 year old, skiing/running/fitness junkie, handstand addict, overposter on Instagram, booty shaker, self-conscious, high energy ME! 

If you can’t say anything nice…

When you go to classes, you generally don’t know what you’re going to get. Even if you’ve been to a studio and a teacher hundreds of times, something will be subtlety or obviously different. Or maybe you’re trying to find the teacher/studio/style of yoga that you love. Or maybe there’s a sub for your regular class. Or maybe you’re dealing with an injury or some tightness in your body. Something, every time on your mat is going to be different. Try to think of it as an adventure! You can learn something from every experience, whether you found your new favorite teacher or not. You’re not going to vibe with everyone everywhere. You might not like a teacher’s sequencing or playlist, the mural on the wall, the heat in the room. That’s ok. There’s something you can learn or appreciate about the situation, and you say “thank you” and move on. You maybe give it another go or your don’t come back. There’s no need to complain or criticize if it wasn’t your thing. That’s the teacher’s style, a part of her that she’s opening up and sharing with her classes. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in and it’s a beautiful thing when you can tell she’s being totally authentic and genuine. There are going to be plenty of people that resonate with that teacher, just as there’s a teacher/style/studio out there that you resonate with! 

Namaste my OMies! Much love! 

Original posting.

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