Becoming a new teacher leaves you feeling frightened in so many ways. You’ve learned lifetimes of new material, students are looking to you for directions and the stage fright sets in: what meditations did you plan, again? Thoughts race: am I even leading a good flow? A miscue in class leads to feeling a light sweat, the mistake still echoing in your ears, and now the asana that comes next in your flow completely slips your mind.

Feeling a full out panic, hands clammy, feet shuffling, heart beating out of your chest… please. "Find child’s pose," you hear yourself ask. You scramble back to your mat at the front of the room; this is where your asana journal lies. In this journal are specific poses planned for this class. You don’t dare mess with what’s been practiced, it flows perfectly with this music, in this 75 minutes, right now. That’s the plan… so stick with it.
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I taught my yoga classes in fear of moving away from my asana journal for way too long; up until the day I co-taught a workshop with my best friend. "You are so intuitive," she commented. "You never stick to a plan for anything, why do you follow your journal so strictly for class?" I asked myself the same questions. Why was I so attached to these set flows? This isn’t yoga.

Planning yoga postures in hopes that a class will feel a certain way is not how a teacher empowers her students. Tuning into what my students need is how I can help them the most; not trying to guess how my class will feel, while planning the sequence the night before.

Yoga is not only about doing, but about feeling. By walking away from the feeling of not “doing enough” with class planning, I was walking into being the best teacher I could become for my students. I learn by connecting in the best way I know how: through feeling.

As yoga teachers we intuitively adjust our students so that they practice more safely and find more comfort in yoga asanas. Letting go of a plan and trusting the moment is the way we can intuitively adjust ourselves with regard to planning class sequences. This is the way we can acquire a teaching style with flexibility. This is the teacher your students need: the one who goes tunes into what she’s feeling.

How do you tune into feeling when you’re teaching?

Contributed by guest author, Kate Kresevic, Yoga Teacher Training Alum

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