In December I have spent a significant amount of time preparing future classes, getting in touch with aspiring students, looking for places where I could teach group classes, preparing, printing and then distributing flyers…
It was sometimes difficult to let go of the planning activities to come back to my mat. (Someone once said that the most difficult yoga move is to step onto your yoga mat. That is so true…after the first few breaths on my mat I feel so alive that the rest follows.) To step on my mat, I had to constantly remind myself that being committed and regular at my own practice was key to becoming a great teacher. To be disciplined, passionate and committed is called “tapas” in yogi philosophy. I cultivate my own tapas by practicing yoga every day or at least every other day and by always bringing wood to the fire of my desire to practice.
In December, having to manage my time and energy between planning and practicing was an introduction to what is coming next: managing my time and energy between my own practice and the classes I give. Yoga is such an internalized and deep practice that it needs to be constantly nourished, inspired, expanded, through new experiences and new perspectives on teachings. My teacher Rory once told me, to be a good teacher, you basically need to get 50% in and 50% out. This is what I feel, also. As I am preparing classes, I am getting even more eager to attend online workshops, read books and learn new sequences.
On top of my global tapas, I cultivate a specific one which changes every few months. At the moment my tapas concerns uddhiyana bandha (subject of a future post), and once a week I work on my jumping and on hand stand-related exercises. This requires a lot of patience and commitment, and it is sometimes difficult to feel any progress at all, yet it is crucial to keep going. In the past, I have faced many poses which I was convinced I could never do…yet with patience, commitment, and practice…eventually, one day those same poses came to life!
In December, I have also stepped out of my comfort zone… reaching out to people I barely knew, distributing flyers in the street… It was actually exhilarating to feel my own determination to move forward, to be able to kindly reach out to others, and to accept to feel vulnerable. One day, no student came to class: I then joyfully started doing my own practice in the big empty room, unexpectedly savoring every moment of it, and the beautiful space around me.