As yoga teachers, we are privileged to share our passion for yoga. We truly enjoy seeing students progress and grow in their yoga practice. However, we are human. We have vices. We have days we don’t want to go to yoga. Heck, there are days when my dog has a better yoga practice than me. As teachers, we have some confessions. Between the chaturangas and super long holds in chair pose, there are things we notice. Allow me to share a few of these confessions.
Confession #1: We see everything
Being teachers, our intention is to bring light and love into students’ lives. So when we see students spreading light and love into the world it makes us happy and fulfilled. But there are some moments of light, and *ahem* love, that need to stay behind closed doors.
While it seems like common sense to keep such activities private, occasionally a couple will canoodle in class. Yes; the lights are low. And yes; I know you’re feeling all of that prana (energy) moving through your body and the room. But, perhaps, right now is not the right time to express it?
Regularly in class, I have this couple that always holds hands during savasana. This is precious and an appropriate display of affection. In fact, I do that when attending yoga classes with my partner. However, what they decided to do during prasarita (wide legged forward fold) was what you might call “yoga for the bedroom.” Mr. HandHolder was in his wide legged forward fold and Mrs. HandHolder followed suit.
Once they realized they were extremely close to each other, Mrs. H decided to rub her head around in Mr. H’s… umm, well… “root chakra” area. This, my friends, is a rather questionable display of affection during a yoga class. While the other students may not have noticed this, I sure had a mental giggle. At the conclusion of class, they spooned in savasana with hands strategically placed. As teachers, we love when you feel the prana in the room. Just know that while we keep an eye on you for alignment and energy purposes, we sometimes see those public – yet personal – displays of affection.
Confession #2: We want our mats
I know that sometimes it can be hard to get in your car and come to yoga. I applaud you for getting there. But please be on time. And, for sweet goodness sake, if you must be late do not take my mat.
Recently, I was teaching a class and 20 minutes in, a woman walked in to the room. She had no awareness of what was going on around her. She slammed the door, walked into class and started picking up my mat and dragging it to an open space on the floor.
Umm…no. That’s not how this works. I will allow you to come in late, but sure as all heck, do not take my yoga mat. First of all, more power to you ‘cause that thing hasn’t been washed in months; and second of all, just because I’m not using it at this moment does not mean I will not return to it at some point.
I felt the need to say something, so in the most bizarre voice possible I said, “Oopsie; that’s my mat!” She dropped my mat mid-transport and looked right at me. I took her back into the prop closet and found her a mat that she could use. Meanwhile, the other students were holding chair pose. I could feel the tension in the room so when I returned to the floor I said, “Well, how we liking that chair pose?” They giggled and that cut the tension. Moral of the story here: please don’t steal my mat. It’s weird for everybody.
Can I just take a moment here to thank my students for listening to my voice nonstop for an hour?
Confession #3: We are people too
As teachers, we come to class, greet you with smiling faces and try to exude confidence. We love what we do and we want you to love it also. Although we may seem confident and energetic, that’s not always the case.
I give so much energy away that sometimes I’d rather be at home napping with my puppy than teaching a yoga class. After a long day with only nuts and berries to munch on, I perhaps go home to order myself a large pepperoni pizza and pour an even larger glass of wine. I have to carb load after teaching so much right? I mean, it’s justified. Talking for hours can be exhausting.
That brings me to the talking thing. Can I just take a moment here to thank my students for listening to my voice nonstop for an hour? Obviously, as teachers we have insecurities. One of them is voice. We want to say the right thing that hits home and truly makes your practice worthwhile. I can’t stand to listen to a two minute video of myself talking with my friends without quivering in horror, so I have no idea how you do it for an hour.
So, after class we want feedback. We want to know what you liked about class. We want to know (kind of) what you didn’t like. Your practice is not our practice. We are there to guide you and it is so important to us that you keep coming back. We need to know what you are searching for. And If you happen to have time before leaving, please thank us if you enjoyed your practice. We use our energy to help you create yours and when that is acknowledged, it gives us that little oomph that we need to keep doing what we’re doing.
We are real people with real emotions, opinions, and – confessions. Some of us like to take a little time to be silly to offset some of the seriousness. That’s part of what yoga is all about right; finding balance?
KATE ROBERTSON is a professional writer, yoga instructor and mother to her beloved bichon-poodle, Bentley. She enjoys outdoor yoga, afternoon naps and Nebraska football.