Teaching Yoga for the First Time (to Strangers)

The day came and went. I survived it.

Yoga baby

I had been nervous for about two days before the class in which I’d teach yoga for the first time. I would lay in bed at night imagining the worst possible scenarios, I would think about my mouth going dry, my voice shaking, my whole body sweating worse than if I was actually practicing. I would always try to push away the thought the moment would pop up, until the day of. When I had the brilliant idea of recording myself. This last sentence is imbibed in sarcasm. I tried to do my spiel, but I wasn’t able to find my words, on the rehearsal file I sound like a CD that’s been through a couple of rounds in the washing machine.

I said to myself: “It is what it is. It’s really a little too late to do anything about it.” All this talk in my head was happening a couple of hours before teaching yoga for the first time to strangers.

I managed to calm myself down. Even on the mat, waiting for my turn, I managed to keep my cool. (Unlike during the practice run a couple of weeks earlier.) The mantra on a loop in my head was “Either way, I am going to go up there and teach these people those poses. I may be terrible, I may be good, I may not even be judged. So what’s the point of allowing my heart rate to push through the roof?” I turned on my recording device and with confident steps I walked to the front of the class and started teaching.

While doing it, I knew it was bad. Five seconds into teaching and my mouth felt like I had just tried to swallow a spoonful of flour. I could swear I heard my voice breaking and my words mispronounced. There was no doubt I just messed up the right and left sides. Wow! I’m too slow on this sequence! Damn! I rushed them through this sequence, they had to skip an inhale to keep up. Ayayay!

Back on my mat, the little voice in my head said “I did it. And I did it good!” Can one be any more conflicted? If while doing it I was my worst judge, once it was all over, for reasons unknown, I was much more generous with the grades given to myself.

The 40 minutes left of the class after I concluded my part were the longest ever! I was so anxious to receive feedback and so curious to listen to myself.

Feedback time eventually came and it was all positive. Many encouragements to dial back on being uncomfortable talking to the class. Easy to say.

On my drive back home I listened to myself teach my students Tadasana and three sets of Classical Sun Salutations with a breakdown of Cobra pose. Let me tell you, it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it was. It’s really as if I was hearing a completely different person in my head while taking the class through the key points of alignment and breathing cues.

For your entertainment, below is the audio file. Grab a yoga mat and see if you can follow my instructions. Let me know how I did. 😀

Namaste!

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