As many of you know, I began working as a yoga instructor at the Plex last month after completing my 200-hour RYT training at South Boston Yoga. “The teacher who is not also a student is neither” is a phrase I’ve kept with me. I try to take as many yoga classes as I can, though juggling that with school, water polo, The Rock (clearly capitalized), and trying to get my book published is tricky.
BC’s yoga community is great for many reasons. If you were to take a stroll through campus, you’d think that everyone practiced yoga given the number of girls in yoga pants. While class numbers aren’t in the thousands (yet), BC does love its yoga.
The fact that plex classes are free to all undergraduate students means that a wide variety of people come in. The variation in skill levels isn’t much of an issue since most poses can be modified. When I tell people they should try yoga, they often tell me that they can’t; they’re not flexible. With yoga though, it doesn’t matter how far you can go into a pose. Rather, it’s important to work on that pose in each class.
My favorite part of my job is seeing people who are sticking with it and improving. The difficulty in styles such as power yoga, which I teach, comes more from stamina rather than complexity of the poses themselves, with balancing poses being the exception. It’s been rewarding for me to see poses like crow click for people who struggled with them before.
Getting back to the zen hinted at in the title: I learned something about teaching a couple of classes ago. In keeping with the vinyasa style of my class, I often teach tree pose building into standing spits. While I normally do standing splits with no issue, this particular class my right leg was stiff and did not want to do a standing split. So I didn’t do it.
I was initially concerned with how my students might perceive my decision to not do standing splits but still teach them. Looking back on it, it seems foolish that I was concerned at all. I’ve taken many classes where the teacher doesn’t demo at all. I like to demo because it keeps me in the flow, prevents me from talking incessantly, and gives me a good workout that I get paid to do.
But, at the same time, I was taught to listen to my body. That’s something that I tell my students almost every class when we begin, usually in child’s pose. Some days you’ll feel like you can hang in wheel for an hour and some days you won’t want to do back bends at all.
That’s what I love about yoga. I might be a certified teacher, but my journey toward being the best yogi I can be is far from over. I love that I have the ability to share my knowledge when I teach, but I also love that the discovery phase for me in yoga isn’t over and probably never will be.