Over and over I am presented with how much one can learn from teaching. I found this journal entry from when I was fresh out of teacher training. Each week I showed up to my Wednesday mid-day active flow class with outline in hand. This role of newly minted yoga instructor covered me in a thick layer of responsibility to lead students along a beautiful path of body exploration using the vehicle of breath. In order to not skip a beat I would make sure to ‘be prepared’. I would come with a nicely outlined plan of the perfect class. The students were now looking to me to know what to say, seamlessly keep pace, and give them visual cues so they can easily focus on what’s happening within themselves. What pressure not to mess up! All this preparation for this wonderful, beautiful, class was shaping up to a full-blown anxiety driven beast.
This is, until, I decided to take on a little experiment. All the mental energy to make my class enjoyable was reminding me of Sunday night blues in high school. With the vision of living my yoga, of being ready to teach anywhere, I decided to drop the script. This was a choice sheathed in mental anxiety, but filled with supreme satisfaction. Teaching has become part of my creative process. As I teach my students to move with the ebb and flow of their own bodies, I learn to guide within the same river they ride along.
A beautiful spark happens when I teach from the role of a listener. I am allowed to respond to those variables that are unknown. The class becomes a response to what the student walks into the room with physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am freed from my expectation of what should happen, and strive to connect to what is actually happening. Yes, some days I do show up stick figures drawn of interesting sequences that may be fitting for this particular time, day, and group of students. Although it is known that I may be ditching the particulars and instead dance with what reality has presented.
Through this unraveling of structure, the beauty of possibility finds room to grow. I see a reflection of this within my own life. What first seems like chaos, what first bathes me in anxiety, soon reveals itself to be wonder and exploration. Thoughts of all the times I’ve heard my friends, family members, and students speak about the tension that builds from not knowing come to mind. Perhaps you have felt those in your own life? Those moments of transition are times when we tend to hold everything together the tightest, to shield all of our stuff from inevitable change. Living from the fear that if we don’t tie it down, it will not make it through the turbulence.
What would happen if we held nothing we had? What would happen if I teach from a place of trust. We are all held within our experience, good, bad, or indifferent. There is no need to hold, we are all cradled in the hands of the present moment. Moving from a place of faith in my own self, I have learned to dip into the calm waters of my unchanging nature, and show up authentically. Each class, each day, is an opportunity for instant positive feedback encouraging me to drop the script and speak from the heart.