After graduating from my Your Yoga Flow 200 hour Teacher Training a few years ago, I immediately started teaching 7 classes a week. I had soon taught 100 classes in my first 100 days of teaching! Just like many jobs I’ve held before, I found that the first 3 months were full of lessons. In this time, I identified four takeaways that I hope will inspire new teachers and bring a smile to the face of experienced instructors.
1. Don’t Overthink It
As a new teacher, I was very anxious, examining each class through a critical microscope. Was I holding the pose long enough? Did the sequence flow smoothly? Was I being too repetitive? I started down the path of crippling overthinking before I realized that, while it was important to bring intention to each class, I also needed to embrace some ease and acceptance, modelling for my students a willingness to be an imperfect, lifelong student of my own practice.
2. People Enjoy Routine
I found it challenging to teach so often without feeling like I was always doing the same thing, moving through the same sequence. But as I widened the lens on this experience, recalling my own practice prior to teaching, I realized that while I was teaching similar classes multiple times a week, the most I’d see any one student was two or three times. And for these students, a sense of routine or expectation is actually a positive thing.
With this in mind, I seek to design my classes to bring in different elements, highlighting different themes, muscles, or movements, but also recognizing the value of a foundational, consistent flow of postures that allows the mind, breath, and body to settle into the ease of the familiar.
3. Energy is Powerful
Standing in front of a class and leading people is a powerful experience. I was amazed to start observing the differences of energy in various class groupings in different settings, and times of day. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the incredible high I felt after leading a full class through an invigorating vinyasa flow. And I was amazed at how drained I felt after teaching my first Restorative class, giving so much energy to the students as they sought relaxation on the mat.
4. Self Care is a Real Thing
I’d never devoted much attention to self care before, feeling secretly that it was perhaps a bit indulgent. But after seeing the impact of class energy on my body and mind, I’ve accepted the importance of restoring my own energy and caring for myself as a proactive measure. Whether this means getting to the mat for my own practice, scheduling regular massage or time for walking, running, reading, or resting, I’ve learned to make it a priority to care for myself well, so that I can help to support and invest in my yoga community.
What have you learned as a new teacher, or through your yoga practice? How have these lessons impacted your everyday life?
Contributed by guest author, Holly Wielkoszewski, Yoga Teacher Training Alum
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