Friday, November 15, 2013

Teaching Yoga

Photos by Christine Hewitt of Yogic Photos.

What’s it like being a new yoga teacher?

So far my experience looks like this:

Gather friends through various conversations, text messages, and hugs. Invite them to a 1-hour yoga class at my apartment.

Get really, really excited thinking about the group of people who’s going to gather in my living room. Imagine their mats set up next to each other, and all of them sitting in child’s pose.

Spend the entire day at work thinking about the Baptiste flow, envisioning the postures, mumbling the transitions and cues to myself. Spend several days leading up to class reciting the flow out loud in my car on the way to and from work.

Put together a playlist of my favorite songs, and smile at the thought of rocking out to some of my favorite songs while watching some of my favorite people do yoga.

The day of class, write down the flow and some ideas for teaching I want to share. Consider the theme for the class, or a quote or message to share. (For my first class, I read a passage from Meditations on the Mat about letting go of attachment during savasana. For the second one, I discussed ujjayi breathing and mountain pose as foundations at the beginning of class, and then spent a while in the middle breaking down the Warrior poses.)

An hour before class, practice the flow I’m about to teach. Feel it in my body.

A few minutes before anyone knocks on the door, light candles and turn on peaceful music. Feel my stomach do flips as I set up my mat at the front of the room. Ground into my feet and feel my heartbeat, generating positive energy and clearing the room, making space for the practice that’s about to take place here. Release my attachment to the outcome. Devote my practice to my students, bringing love into my heart.

Say hello and give hugs as everyone walks in.

Breathe deeper.

Teach. Connect. Assist. Allow each student to have their own experience on the mat.

During savasana, offer energy, healing, light and love to each person in the room. Notice the feeling of calm in the air, and the look of peace on their faces. (The first time I looked, it literally took my breath away. My heart soared.)

End class humbly, in gratitude, and do my best not to squeal and yell joyfully at everyone about how stoked I am.

And then do it all again. :)

Do you teach? What was your early yoga career like?

PS Next on the list: teach private one-on-one classes and lead a gratitude-themed flow at my local rock climbing gym! Stay tuned.


  1. It sounds like your first class was pretty amazing. I am so happy to see all your hard work is rewarding you with happiness. Keep up the great work. I'm sure your students are loving it!

  2. Thanks, Sue! It has been such a fulfilling process already to begin teaching and I am so grateful and excited to share yoga more and more. I’m already thinking about what trainings I want to do after this! :) I hope you have been doing great. Namaste.