All around the world there are teachers, influencers, motivators, educators and speakers in a vast array of subjects/topics. Some are on a large stage with millions of followers, however, there are even more on smaller stages and in local communities. Many of these people we have heard of and may even follow on national and international platforms; and yet there are way more unknown to you and I. Does that make their words or their message less important? Maybe so…how do we know if we have never listened??
Feeling out the authentic, real and genuine souls who call themselves teachers, influencers, motivators, educators and speakers can be murky at best. There are those who believe it is necessary to ‘put on a show’, be someone bigger/better/different than they are in real life. Of course, that works for some, but I will put myself out there and say not for most. I don’t believe being someone you are not at your core is sustainable. Maybe I’m wrong. All I know is that it was not possible for me…even the slightest bit.
When I began Yoga(mmunity) – first know as Bend n Brew – I was still somewhat of a new yoga teacher. Now, I was not new to teaching by any means, having been in and out of teaching and coaching most of my adult life. Yoga(mmunity)’s first class had 10 people. I was pleased with that. I was nervous and finding my place as a yoga teacher at that time. Within 3 months that class grew to 40+ people every week. Then there were 60 people. That was 4 years ago. I was overwhelmed and humbled with tears falling down my cheeks. I experienced an ‘oh, shit’ moment of how do I teach to 60 people?? 60 people that ranged in age, weight, experience level, strength, yoga knowledge and mobility.
Let me back up, the vision behind Yoga(mmunity) – yoga + community, was to make yoga more accessible and appealing, to build community and support locally owned businesses. I knew, well hoped, that the students would be first timers and seasoned yoga practicianers. What I failed to consider and work through was how does one teach a truly all-levels yoga class. Now, I have been to several classes in many different areas that are listed as all-levels but to be honest, most of them are not. It’s hard and challenging to cater to first timers with a terminology barrier and at the same time make the class enjoyable to those who practice regularly. Then add in the building community piece and phew…that’s a lot.
So, I was focused on honing my teaching skills, terminology and cues. It didn’t leave much brain space to think about who I was and what kind of teacher I was going to make myself into. Thankfully, I realized early on that, for me, it wasn’t possible to create a teaching persona and learn how to teach a fully all-levels class at the same time. I had to choose…focus on my students and provide as much knowledge as I can or create this persona of a teacher outside of the every day me.
I chose my students. I choose the community. I chose to be me with all my quirks and faults to accompany my knowledge, compassion and authenticity; accepting that they will either like me or they won’t. They will either come back or they won’t. Either way, I can say that I played a part for many people taking their first steps towards a yoga practice.
Connect. Open. Love.