Within the last 10 days, I taught my first two yoga classes ever! It was quite a journey even getting to this point, and I learned a lot about yoga and myself during these two classes.
Practicing yoga and teaching yoga are completely different experiences. I have even more respect for my previous yoga teachers after going through this training. This is hard work!
I’m really glad that we had to sequence a 20-minute class, writing out every single thing we planned to say, and recording that before jumping straight into the 60-minute class. Twenty minutes might sound like a long time, but when you’re trying to fit in everything, those 20 minutes just fly on by! Once I practiced my 20-minute sequence a bit, I felt much more comfortable with the timing of my 60-minute class. I still miscalculated the amount of time everything would take, but I’ll explain that in more detail below.
I know that I’ve said this a bajillion times at this point, but I’m so grateful to My Vinyasa Practice (MVP) for the scholarship opportunity, and for providing me such an enriching and life-altering learning experience. I have highly recommended this program to folks who have asked me about it because I think it is absolutely fabulous. MVP is lightyears ahead as far as a lot of the online learning experiences I’ve had since March. I loved that I could learn at my own pace and that there were lots of MVP folks out there to help support this dream of mine.
The 20-Minute Class
The 60-Minute Class
Once I completed the 20-minute class, I took my yoga certification exam and passed it in flying colors. I’ve always been a good test taker, and it’s even easier when it’s open book! I finished the exam in record time (you should note that this is literally the only time I ever took it, so it was both the fastest and the slowest I ever took it…), and was ready to get. it. crackin’. with my 60-minute class.
As I reviewed the rubric, I felt that feeling of overwhelm coming over me again. I have to cue correctly, breathe correctly, try not to pass out, and develop a metaphorical theme to go along with all of the other themes???
I didn’t think I was going to be able to do half of these things, but you know what?
Teaching a 60-minute yoga class was such an amazing experience for me.
Throughout my yoga teacher training, I had a lot of doubts about my ability to remember my sequences, queue correctly, give the correct instructions on breathing, etc., and all of those doubts melted away as soon as class began. I kept my practice plan nearby as a cheat sheet and had to peek at it a couple of times, but I was able to practice the self-compassion that I’ve learned throughout my teacher training; it was okay to forget something, as long as I didn’t let it detract from the full experience.
I teach a variety of group fitness classes, and nothing is like yoga. Where I can teach a virtual HIIT class on Facebook live and not be able to see or hear anyone besides myself, yoga – more than anything else I teach – really makes me want to be physically present with everyone participating. (Obviously, this is sadly not realistic in these current times.)
The theme of this class was to focus on grounding yourself so that you can provide the love and support to others that you may desire. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
During the class, we started by really rooting into the ground, tapping into our root chakra. From there, we continued to grow in our poses, standing tall until we were able to “take flight” in our peak pose of Warrior III. We released tightness in our hips and lower backs, giving us a more airy feeling by the end of class. Knowing that so many of us carry stress and tension in our hips, releasing tightness in this area can sometimes have a deeper meaning.
While I was proud of myself for completing my first full vinyasa flow, I know there is a lot of room for growth and development. One thing that resonates with me when I take classes from other instructors is their ability to weave in a metaphor or mantra throughout the class. I had a vision for what I wanted to share in my class, but I know I wasn’t able to focus on it as much as I wanted to. There were so many thoughts running through my head, with the sequences and the modifications, plus the theming and breathing. At one point, I wasn’t sure if I was sweating from the sequence or the pressure! Regardless, I made sure I returned to the basics so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I was surprised by how timing works in yoga. For this 60-minute class, I wanted to squeeze in an additional sequence and realized the timing wouldn’t work, so I extended the cooldown instead. I will definitely have to work on my timing!
What I Learned From Both Classes
- Practicing self-compassion goes a long way. I really could’ve derailed the practice for everyone if I had focused on the mistakes I was making. It’s okay to make mistakes. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, learn from them, and move forward. Don’t let mistakes hold you back! You will continue to learn and grow as long as you don’t fixate on mistakes. You can’t fix them now!
- I really need to practice teaching when to inhale versus exhale. That got so tricky for me at one point, and I had to catch myself and reset.
- It takes way longer to teach and say the sequence and body positions out loud than it does to do it on your own!
- Getting feedback is super helpful! One of my friends who took this class shared that she wasn’t comfortable doing skandasana (side lunge pose), but wasn’t sure how to modify. Now I know for next time that I have to cue a modification for this one because it can be intense on the knees and ankles of some practitioners.
- Once you practice a sequence enough, your body will know where to go! I didn’t forget my sequence as much as I thought I would because I had practiced it enough that my body knew what was coming next.