Never could I have imagined the range of emotions I would go through upon making the transition from yoga student to yoga teacher. The decision to train to become a yoga teacher is, for most I think, a decision made from the heart. I don't think I ever really sat down and thought about the actual reality of teaching from one week to the next, all I knew was that I HAD to share yoga with everybody, as simple as that.
I was certainly not prepared for what I have experienced over the past 3 months since starting to teach - this journey from student to teacher has been one of the most intense of my entire life, and there have been no shortage of intense moments in my life thus far!!
Even before I had completed my teacher training I had made arrangements to hire a nice bright studio space in a local gymnastics centre which seemed perfect for teaching in with mirrors all along one side and a ballet barre and was all new and modern looking so I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do once I completed my course. I also set about getting an advert into a local magazine advertising my classes and also registered with countless online yoga listings so being a fairly 'connected' person in terms of understanding how to use the internet, etc. I felt I was giving my new business the best start possible. I bought a whole load of mats, straps, blocks, bricks and was all prepared to start teaching. Once my course was completed I registered with all the requisite yoga bodies, set up my insurance, sorted my DBS (previously CRB) check due to teaching in an environment that children frequent and all the paperwork was completed.
With all the formalities out the way, the opening class date set and advertised and lessons planned all I had to do was turn up at the centre ready to teach. I remember that first class so well. I had no idea whether anyone would turn up and it was such an unfamiliar feeling and so far out of my comfort zone. A genuine leap of faith and trusting in the universe. I have been very fortunate to have had the unwavering support of a couple of loved ones who have been to almost every class I have taught providing a kind of buffer in case no-one else turned up and without them I'm not sure I could have done it. But that first class, approaching 9.30am and no-one there, me feeling all dejected, then all of a sudden in time for class to begin there were 5 people - a couple of whom I knew but a couple who I hadn't bribed or paid to be there :-) The sheer joy and belief that maybe this might work was amazing and my first class went well.
As I am currently running classes on a drop-in basis the feeling of just not knowing who is going to turn up from one class to the next still creates an uncertainty and leaves you feeling quite vulnerable at times. I find I experience such extreme highs and lows but this seems to be the greatest challenge of all. Learning to be patient, to understand that it takes time to build a business, that isn't going to be smooth sailing all the time. Understanding and accepting that you have no control over people's decisions to come from one week to the next and also realising that a person's decision not to come one week is not a reflection of either your class, your teaching or in fact anything to do with you. We all lead such busy lives with so many commitments that when teaching you have to try to remind yourself not to take things too personally, not to take things to heart. As a definite "wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve" type person this has proved challenging. On the whole I have had encouraging numbers most weeks, some classes busier than others naturally but considering I've only been teaching for a few months things are looking good generally. I have new people coming all the time, some come back, some don't. The strangest thing is when someone says they loved your class but then you don't see them again and that's quite a tough one to figure out, but the point is, don't try to figure it out. It is what it is.
I have been very lucky also to have a small "hard core" of students in both my classes who have been with me since the start and this is the most rewarding part of the journey. Seeing people who had never done yoga before, or who hadn't done it for a number of years, come to your classes and keep coming back. To see in their faces that they are falling in love with yoga, that it is doing something great for them, this is what the whole point was in my wanting to teach. To bring yoga to more people, to let more people experience the wonderful things that yoga can bring to your body, your mind and your life in general and for the experience of witnessing this I am eternally grateful.
What from here? Well, I did my first 3-hour workshop in April which went well, I had 12 people sign up which was the perfect amount for the room I had hired. Some of whom I knew and others who I hadn't met before. It was a lot of work in terms of preparation in fact but the workshop went really well. I had some lovely feedback and most importantly everyone left with a smile on their faces and looking a lot more relaxed. Hopefully I will be able to run another workshop this year maybe in the Autumn and then numbers permitting I will be able to continue my weekly classes too. Eventually I hope I might progress to running retreats in the UK then hopefully somewhere exotic :-) but that might be a while off!! Still, I guess it's good to set your sights high and to believe that anything is possible.
The wonderful yogis who came to my workshop!