She said this.
‘oooooh chiiiiiillld, this is my time right here honey baby, this is my tiiiiiiime’ ‘you gonna play that muuuusic?’
Me: looks confused, tilts head like golden retriever, has this thought (what the what?)
In a little while you will meet Theresa.
Since coming to Sacramento almost 3 months ago I have realized all KIIIIINDS of things. Here are a few.
1) Sunshine is where it’s at people.
2) People in Sacramento just might be the nicest people on earth (see item 1, I think this plays in)
3) Seeing my niece and nephew on a weekly basis is the best gift on earth.
4) Starting a new job, a 200 hr. teacher training, in a new city is….crazy.
5) I forgot how to teach yoga.
6) I remember why I teach yoga.
7) Starting from zero will break your heart and fill it up all at once.
8) Thank god for second chances and the opportunity to dream big.
The first class I ever taught in NY, like big class, (aka not a 6am) 3 people walked out. Rolled up their mats, avoided eye contact, and walked out the door. THREE. As a new teacher, as well as a human being, here are the thoughts you have when this happens ‘ I am the WORST’ ‘Oh my god, I should walk out’ ‘what the hell am I doing’ ‘These poor people’ — these days when people walk out I think this ‘they must have diarrhea’ : ) You kinda have to make it not about you, otherwise you’ll stop teaching.
You reach a point as a teacher where you get kind of comfortable…I’d say for me that was the 2-year mark. When you can really get that none of it is about you, and your greatest intention becomes to hold the space for people to express themselves in a challenging supportive space…the magic begins.
When I would walk into the room to teach back in NY, I felt like I was walking into hang out with 50 of my family members. Sweaty family members. I gave my heart and soul, so no wonder, that’s exactly what came back. I forget that that took YEARS.
Coming in to teach in a brand new space, in a brand new town, at the ‘It’ studio … well here’s what must be happening. EVERYONE must have diarrhea because I have absolutely no semblance of ‘hey I recognize you’ WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE! Suddenly, I am back to the ego of being a new teacher when I define who I am by who shows up (or in this case, who does not show up) I’m learning to teach a different style of yoga, that feels like writing with my left hand, or teaching in a foreign language. There are aspects that I like very much about it, there are aspects I don’t like at all that don’t feel like they fit…it’s growing pains of course.
Through teacher training the feedback I have received consistently is that I come in and out of the room, not literally of course, but that it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s me, and when I drift into the land that NO yoga teacher EVER wants to go:
The land of yoga teacher voice.
And in this land, my voice loses it’s power, and I begin to say a bunch of shit that doesn’t make any sense, and I stretch out my vowels in a creepy creepy way, and I’m watching from the outside in and pleading myself to knock it off. And I cant.
I’m too far gone.
I now have a really rad (uh-oh california’s coming out!) spot on the schedule, Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm. It’s the karma class, donation only, and it’s got a really great vibe. I’m moving into my third week this week and it feels GOOD.
Yoga teacher or teachers of any kind for that matter, want a sure fire way to grow?
Move. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s dangerous in there!
‘ooooh yeeeees honey child, ooooo girl I cant sit or move my arm, and dang my ass is biiiiiig child’
Theresa folks. I cant make this shit up.
So out of all of this new, new everything, city, training, friends, etc….heres what has been the MOST grounding of all. Teaching for yoga across America. Read more about it here. A beautiful beautiful organization who’s mission it is to spread yoga across the states reaching populations most at need.
I met the founder back in 2010 at a Baptiste assisting training in Boston, and as with the yoga world, you get a built in a family that welcomes you in and gives you a chance.
My two favorite times of the week have quickly become Monday nights when I teach at the cancer center, and Thursday early mornings when I teach at Sac High.
Ms. Theresa and her giant giant hair-do is one of my Monday night gals, she is a large white woman from Louisiana and she’s new to yoga. It was just me and her last night. 7 Months ago she had surgery to remove cancer from her right breast. And now just this week her Doctor has cleared her to move.
It was humbling. At first, I did not know how I was going to pull this off. Mobility was a huge issue not just because of her size, but because she could not lift her right arm higher than her shoulder because of scar tissue.
So last night I taught a yoga class to Theresa, pulled my mat up right next to her, and we did this.
Stood with our hands at our heart. Opening our arms up big like a hug. Hands to heart. Arms wide open. Hands to heart. Arms wide open. We breathed together, and it was awesome.
I think we did that 87 times. I’d break it up with some other random things, but I was mindful that I wanted Theresa to feel successful at this…and she’d say things like this.
‘child I just Looooooorrrrrve this breathing! This breathing is ammmazin’!
And it was. And it is.
The kids I teach at Sac High on Thursday mornings are awesome. First off, we look like an extremely ethnically balanced brochure that would test well in inner cities. There is me, an African American boy, a Chinese girl, an Japanese boy, an Indian girl, and a Puerto Rican girl.
These teens? They are fearless. They remind me that I am fearless too, and together we create something beautiful.
And isn’t that what it’s about anyway.
So turns out the most at home I feel teaching are 80’s aerobic style arm moves, and an ethnically diverse panel of low-income teens who are ALL going places by the way (you should hear their goals, it’d sure make you want to step up your game)
No yoga teacher voice here.
Just me and them and us. The us part, is the best part. I leave these sessions overflowing with joy.
No hiding. And that’s what it is right; it’s the hiding that holds us back. It’s the hiding that has us receiving feedback like ‘where did you go??’ ‘you were here, and then you weren’t here.’
It haunts me and it inspires me ‘you were here, and then you weren’t here’
I’m grateful, so so grateful where this life shows me where I am afraid. This life shows me again and again.