I reminded myself of what my senior teacher had said recently during our latest training, "Do you want to be a popular teacher, or a good teacher?" And so it was with the best of intentions that I stepped into the studio - I am going to teach damn it!
The large space was heated via Infrared light, so the temperature was just perfect and I even chose a favorite ambient lighting via a color wheel! How sweet is that? The bay windows are electronically controlled so you can decide the amount of natural light to let in - it doesn't get much better than that; what an auspicious start.
Unrolling my mat - I opted not to stand on the elevated platform - I was excited to see the first student walk in... Starting on our backs, we began finding our breath, letting go of the day, tasks, to do lists, and every piece of luggage weighing so heavily on our shoulders. So far, so good... After some gentle stretches, we moved into our first downward facing dog, plank, and baby cobra. Looking at bodies moving, I realized my all-levels sequence was inappropriate and needed to be adapted to beginners. Bam! To say that panic hit me would be exaggerating but the comfort zone was gone, I was in unchartered territory - where's my breath now? Sun salutations turned into standing poses that melted into balancing poses... A slew of thoughts assailed me: the arm is too far back; the hip too far forward; the torso is facing the floor and the stance is too small... Happy place, happy place.
The rest is pretty much a blur - the next thing I recall is the last song on my playlist, an acoustic rendition of Over The Rainbow. Time for Savasana, thank God! Exhale! I gave everyone a soothing massage and relaxed along with them. Then, just as quickly as it had begun, the class was over. Wait, what? That's it? You're leaving?
I walked out feeling inflated by the exhilaration of the experience - come on my first class in a brand new city! But also deflated that I couldn't 'fix' everything I saw; perhaps I hadn't been teaching as much as I had hoped. As I stepped back out back into the world, one of the students thanked me for the class. His neck had been stiff for a few weeks and he was happy the session had helped release some tightness. Wait, what? You liked the class? He had come to move after a long day; open up tight spaces, sweat some, breathe better and perhaps find Orpheus a little more easily that night; the same reasons I practice Yoga.
That evening, I reflected on this first class - by the time I was done, the box of chocolate almonds was gone too - yes I could have done this and that, not this and that: self-doubt is a bitch... But again, recalling the words of my senior teacher, "the best part of a Yoga class, is when you let it go." Looking back is only human nature, but can have dire consequences if you linger too long. So here's to first times, and to looking forward, whatever direction it may take you.