25 August, 2012

The teacher in me recognizes...

Today was Hatha at home.

I've thought about whether or not I should consider doing the Baptiste training. It fleets through my mind from time to time. And occasionally, someone says to me "you should teach yoga." I am not sure why. I guess I've always had an inclination for wanting to teach. And perhaps my (alleged) way with words makes some think I'd be good as a teacher. I dunno. When I've done my several home practices, it's occurred to me that having a good memory is a useful thing for a yoga teacher, because there is actually a lot to string together. I've found that I have little difficulty remembering the entirety of the Hatha series, and am pretty decent at pacing it to hit the one hour target. Probably because of my magical power of time perception. See, today's my day to be completely egotistical and tell you all the things I can do. Of course, I'm not sure that "good memory" and "time perception" really qualify for super-power status. But it is what it is, right?

So, today was the first time I've ever "led" a yoga "class." I am putting both of those words in quotes because I don't really think it's fair to call "practice at my house" a "class." And I don't really think that doing yoga while mumbling a few instructions constitutes "leading."

I can tell you this: the idea of calling training "Prepare to teach, prepare to lead" is really appropriate. Instructing yoga is much more than just teaching. It is a lot more like leading, because you need to stand confidently in front of a room full of people, and yourself, and be willing to tell others what to do. I've always been afraid to tell others what to do, and have mostly shunned any sort of leadership situations. And it's not that I don't have thoughts about how things should be done (as you know). It's just that, with power, comes responsibility, and it scares me to be the one leading others.

It helps to be instructing a class of only one student, especially when it's someone you're entirely comfortable with. But I have to say, it still made me quite nervous to be the one responsible for someone else's experience. And, heh, there's the truth of it. I am not actually responsible for anyone else's experience. We are all responsible for our own experiences. But when we teach, we commit to leading others in their experiences. And they submit themselves to our leadership or guidance. It's a trust relationship.

Scary stuff.

Anyway, I learned that it's a lot easier to have all of the things in my head than to say them out loud and have them sound as good as they do in my head. I learned that it's damn hard to do the poses while trying to offer instruction (and makes me want to offer massive kudos to people like Patrick, Gordy, Ginger, whom I've seen essentially do the entire class with us, while providing the instructions -- that is not easy). I learned that there's an interesting (and intriguing) sense of power (and I don't mean tyranny, but simply power) associated with being the instructor of how others will move their bodies.

I suspect that learning to teach, learning to lead on a yoga mat could potentially be a step toward having the courage and confidence, and commitment to lead in other areas of my life.

We shall see.

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