Last week I was a yoga-teacher virgin, still learning the ways of the yoga sutras, memorizing and practicing the various positions, double-checking my anatomy books, nervous about first-time performance, and hoping others would show up to take part in my passion for yoga.
Yeah, I had taught classes to friends and my fellow yoga-teacher-training classmates, but I had never put myself out there and taught at a real-live yoga studio.
I’m not quite sure how I did it, but I was somehow able to convince (maybe it was coerce) the owner of Indian Summer Yoga Studio to let me teach my very own yoga class. I got a prime Saturday-morning time slot and quickly put together my class description and bio and started handing out flyers for my class. I called some friends and family and offered a few bribes to make sure I would have a couple of supportive, familiar smiling faces looking up at me from their yoga mats.
I also looked to the super cool Twitter yoga community and got a ton of good vibes sent my way, along with a great list of advice—breathe, smile, and, my favorite from @Frenzy36, “Stay engaged with the group. We yoga students are an easy group.” He then followed up with this doozy: “Of course, at the end of class, we always expect the leader to take us to a new state of self-enlightenment but no pressure.” Good stuff!
As Saturday rolled around, I finished up my class playlist (which included a little Dave Matthews, Mary J. Blige, U2, Adele, Green Day, Sade, Alicia Keys, Joni Mitchell, and Ray LaMontagne) and put the finishing touches on my all-levels Hatha yoga class. I was ready to go, confident, and really excited. Then I started getting phone calls and texts, all with the same kind of message: “Sorry, Maria, can’t make it today because…” Bugger, bugger, bugger! I started to freak out and wondered if I would have anyone present to experience my yoga-teaching debut.
“Welcome to your first day at work,” David the studio owner greeted me as I walked in. Cool, I thought, this is my new work, and how freakin lucky am I that my work is teaching yoga?! I walked into the beautiful studio and went about preparing for class, silently sending out frantic karmic requests for just one student to show up.
The clock was just about to strike ten when two students walked through the door, and, to my delight, they were yoga virgins as well. We shared a delightful hour and fifteen minutes together; they got to do their first downward dogs, and I got to give two incredible women their very first taste of yoga. It was a balanced yogic exchange!
When the class was finished and we bowed and said namaste and you are awesome to each other, one of the women looked up at me and said, “I’m hooked.” She loved the yoga experience and wanted to know when she could come back for more! Her daughter loved my playlist. Ka-ching! I had achieved my goals for the class! We hugged when they left, and I have to admit, I was feeling pretty damn yogalicious!
It was the best virgin teaching experience I could have ever asked for and the best first day at work I’ve ever had! Hopefully, I will get more teaching gigs in the future!
Photo: Matthew Bowden