Days 24 and 25: Fun and Not so fun

Yesterday, I spent the entire day with friends, feeling loved and supported. Today, I feel like I spent the day alone, trying to justify my worth in the yoga world.

Yesterday, I spent they day shopping with one of my best friends and her mom, one of my other-mothers. It was a fabulous day; a great way to celebrate the return of the sunshine. When shopping was over, I felt a little shopping-fried and was so thankful to be doing a yoga class with another of my best friends, who’s also committed to 30 days of yoga, via Skype. I lead the class and we both practiced, stopping every now and then to discuss a posture or to talk about how our 30 days of yoga are going.
Today, I taught my 6 a.m. class, with a room twice as full as it normally is. What a blessing. I usually keep the class a tad more simple on Mondays mornings, but today I felt inspired to make it a bit more interesting and challenging with a long standing series, arm balances and inversions. After the class, a student – new to our studio but not to yoga – came to me and discussed her frustration with yoga studios in the San Diego area. “All the classes are exactly the same format,” she said. Although she said that she enjoyed my class, and especially appreciated the free time to work on inversions, she was disappointed that it felt like many of the other vinyasa classes she’d taken in the area.
I’ve been struggling since day one with whether or not I should teach. With the advent of corporate yoga, anyone can take a teacher training and be in the classroom nine weeks later. I struggle with this. Am I a good enough yogi to be leading others through classes? Do I know enough about the yoga tradition, the postures and the anatomy to be the guide? Every time I have this argument with myself, I opt on the side of “yes” because of the joy I find in teaching, and the (usually positive) feedback I get from students. However, I’ve been doubting myself the last few weeks because of low class numbers in my early morning classes. My conversation with the aforementioned student didn’t help, either.
Later today, I practiced at my favorite studio. I really struggled today. On the outside, it looked simply like my instructor was asking me to work into hip openers that my body wanted to reject and that pulled on the muscles in my low back, knees, and ankles. But more than that, forcing me to get my hips open made me question a lot about myself. Was my injury an excuse to not have to look at the deep-seeded emotions tying my hips into knots? Was my back injury, although real physically, an excuse for not moving forward in my practice? With all of those thoughts running through my head, it was hard to have room for more. But of course, there’s always more, and so all those doubts came to the forefront in my yoga sanctuary – if I can’t sit comfortably in half lotus, or hold my headstand for more than two minutes, should I really be teaching others? I cried through the last half of the practice. I felt ashamed and tried to hide the tears, but they just kept coming.
Tonight, I got word through the grapevine that a student requested that my classes be more challenging. I appreciate the feedback so that I can become a better teacher, I just wish that whoever made the comment would have told me directly. What I’m offering in class is what I feel will challenge the students present without going over their heads, and I always want to know if someone needs more. I must have misjudged. Maybe I’m not doing as well as I thought. Hell, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this anyway.
Yesterday was fun. Today was not as fun. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Half of my income depends on me teaching yoga. I don’t want to teach if I’m not offering something unique, challenging and beautiful. Most of all, I don’t want to teach if I’m not inspiring and helping my students. I want to be a positive part of this world. I want my intentions to be pure and my interactions to be positive. I want to have laugh and have fun, no matter what day it is and no matter how tight my hips are. Hmmm, sounds like I need to find a little amusement. Isn’t that what I always say in class?

3 Comments on “Days 24 and 25: Fun and Not so fun”

  1. Hey Anna,

    First off I want to let you know that your blog is inspiring me everyday. So doesn’t that trump the student that wasn’t to happy the other day?

    I’m so sorry to hear about your class this weekend and how hard on yourself you were. I believe as a yoga teacher (not that I have decided to teach just yet) or any teacher of that matter you are going to have students that love your style and kiss the ground you walk on, those who can take it or leave it, and sometimes those that critque everything you do. Don’t beat yourself up about it and take it so personal:) Think of it as a insight into how you can be more creative as a teacher (even though Im sure you are already quite creative) and blend novice students with experienced on any given day? I know I have never taken one of your classes but from meeting you the other night I’m pretty sure I can assume your classes are filled with creative energy and love for your students:) That’s all that should matter right?

    Bhakti to you and your practice.HOpe to see you around-Julie Papek

  2. Hello Anna,

    If you love teaching, you should continue on because you’re a wonderful teacher who’s really dedicated, amazingly strong and inspiring, and is improving every day. Our morning yoga classes are always smaller than the afternoon classes too. I just don’t think that others like to get up as early as I do. I also think that maybe your student should look for other types of yoga if she thinks all vinyasa classes are similar…your practice is creative and had me trying new things so I think it was wonderful. I enjoy that vinyasa classes are similar so I know what to expect but at the same time there are so many different poses, that each class offers something new. Sometimes the up and down waves of life make it hard to keep our head above water but you’re a strong swimmer with lots of drive so just keep doing what you love, incorporate changes of suggestions that you think will make you a better teacher, and you will nurture your students’ practice and love for yoga.


  3. Thanks, gals. Looking over my post this morning, I have a much better attitude about the situation and of course, both of you are absolutely right. Yesterday was a day where I I didn’t act very great (like one of my past blogs says that you should). I didn’t even try to fake acting great. I really let all those PMS emotions get the best of me and dug myself into a hole. Thanks for the support, and I am feeling much better now. You are both right – I need to focus on the joy of teaching, teaching both what I am learning as a student and what will benefit my students, and take all comments as positive suggestions or with a grain of salt.

    Love, light, and handstands,

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