Shambhala Yoga and Dance Studio in their Blossoming Teachers program, where new teachers are given the opportunity to teach and find their voice in a supportive environment. The Blossoming Teachers classes are donation based and all of the money goes to support cancer research. I'm happy to be connected with this program not only because it gives me the chance to hold classes in a studio and reach out to new students, but also because I can help fight the beast that is cancer. Having lost not only my father but also my uncle and young cousin to cancer, it touches a nerve deep in my soul. This is a way for me to help. I have often considered the idea of teaching yoga to cancer survivors in a place like Gilda's Club, but currently just thinking about it makes me weepy, so I don't think I'm ready for that yet...maybe some day.
So far I have lead two restorative classes smack dab in the middle of the day on Monday. The classes have been small, 2-4 students, but I don't mind that, I'm just happy to have new students! I have been interested in sharing restorative yoga for a while, and have studied it independently and trained in it, but because the practice requires a good amount of props, I haven't been able to teach it in my tiny home because I don't own enough bolsters or blankets. It's exciting to be able to use the props and have the space to spread out in the studio.
At first, I was very nervous to teach a new style in a new space to people I don't know. But in order to get through it in a way that I would be happy with myself and the class, I had to bury my insecurities and just dive in. As I did with conquering my initial fears of teaching kids yoga, I just pretended that I have been doing this forever. Again this approach worked...(maybe I should apply this to my dating life and I will find success?) After leading the students in our warm up and getting into the first pose, I became more comfortable and just rode the wave that was me...being a restorative yoga teacher. I noticed that it felt natural. I felt confident that people were enjoying it, I could tell that they were. I could see it in their bodies. As I talked them down to a more relaxed state, I could see them loosening up and sinking into the mats. I observed their posture and breathing and took cues from what their bodies were telling me, then guided them into letting go...it was working! It was awesome!
After class, I encouraged the students to give me feedback and explained that I was new to teaching in a studio. One (cute) guy said "that was exactly what I needed today" (yay!!) another woman said how nice it was to be able to do restorative yoga in the middle of the day (yay again!) and there were several appreciative "thank you"s...One of my goals in my second class was to try to help them cool down their systems, because it had been a particularly hot day. I asked if they felt cooler and they said yes, enthusiastically...I believed them and didn't feel like they were just flattering me.
So far, this has been a very rewarding experience for me. One of my goals in being a yoga teacher is to help people feel better, and I can say that I have been successful in that, at least in a tiny way.