Firstly, thank you so much everyone for your continued support and interest in my teaching journey. I have been out of the TT yoga bubble and home back in the real world for just over a month now and so this post is well overdue.
So it is with a glass of wine in hand, (hey some vices even yoga & 9 weeks of TT didn't stop :-) that I settle down on the couch and sign back into my Blog with the intention of sharing my thoughts about my teaching experiences to date. Which actually feels a bit weird I have to say. I guess because while I was at Training "blogging" was a way to record the day's events and maintain contact with the outside world it seemed so normal, but now seems almost a little narcissistic. In saying that, so many of you "on-line" yogis took the time to follow my Blog, shared your thoughts and offered words of support, and have asked me to continue writing so I feel I would like to maintain that contact with you. And who's to say that we might not find ourselves standing together with our toes on the line in the same hot room somewhere someday :-)
So, here goes.......in the past month I have;
Started my new 9-5 corporate job and am teaching one class a week at my home studio - which makes 5 classes to date. Though I would love to have more classes I have to say that between work, my own practice and studying the dialogue (yes STILL!) my life is pretty full. Also, as there is an abundance of experienced teachers in our area, and all the four studios in the city (Brisbane) had students at Training, there are plenty of eager fresh teachers vying for work so I am lucky to have the classes I get :-)
In saying that a fair number of my fellow Trainees are teaching full time and I have to admit to feeling a little jealous of their new careers. Unfortunately for me the reality of having a mortgage to pay and the cost of Training to be paid off its just not feasible for me to only teach yoga as a means of earning a living. Unfort but true, and something that is really discouraging and heartily debated. Considering the cost of Training and the "weight" being properly Bikram certified carries, the pay is pittance. When you add up the time you are at the studio, at least half an hour prior to class and half an hour afterwards, the hourly rate is pretty crap. Lets just say I could take a 6 week course and become a "Personal Trainer" at the local gym and make more money. Which just seems to be an accepted fact in the Bikram world. So teaching is definitely a labour of love - and something I knew ahead of time and as a new teacher don't have the power to change.
Anyway, in spite of that, I am LOVING teaching. Granted, I am still just trying to get the dialogue out as best as I can, get everyone in and out of the postures safely and finish the class on time, (Insert anxious smile here) so I am not ready yet to add my own personality to the class. And it may not happen for 3-6 months yet. Oy! Depending on how long it takes me to get an "as close to" verbatim dialogue class out. Then I can officially start making corrections and adding my own style / comments to the postures etc.
So, how can I describe the experience of standing on the podium and actually leading a class? First it is weird in that no-one looks at you and you get very little response from anyone other than their movements. No-one maintains eye contact with you, no-one smiles and it looks like no-one is enjoying themselves. I have to constantly remind myself, that its Bikram yoga! No-one should be looking at me, no-one ever smiles (or rarely) and its bloody hot hard work, so no-one is enjoying themselves! Therefore if all of the above is (or isn't as the case may be) happening then it means you are doing your job :-) That, and maybe my jokes just aren't all that funny?
Though I am feeling much more relaxed about teaching a class I am suprised at how hard I am finding it to keep the dialogue fresh in my mind so that it comes out naturally. I am still struggling with the floor series. The postures in the Spine Series are all very simliar and for some reason just won't stick in my poor wee yoga brain. i.e. Is it Go up, much more higher, more up, or Come up, look up, go up, Vs, Come up, everybody go up, come up, everybody come up???????? Argh! Now while it all asks for the same movement, the ever perfectionist in me isn't happy to "wing it" and just say, "come up, come up, come up, change" and wants to get it right. Which is a good thing right?
So I have a copy of the dialogue in my briefcase, a copy in my car and a copy at home and pick it up and study a random posture whenever I can. Ah, the life of a new Bikram yogi eh? Certainly if I was teaching more often it would probably be a different story and I would imagine the dialogue would become more ingrained but for now it is what it is.
In terms of timing, I am starting to manage it better and finish the classes on time. Whew! I have to admit that some of it is pure luck, but I have my time markers ie. when "party time" should occur, what time you should fin the standing series, etc but a lot of it is a fluke and I have no idea if each side of the 2nd set is the same length of time or not? While the first set is pure dialogue it is up to me to "cut and paste" the dialogue and make up the 2nd set as I see fit. WT ???????? So in saying that, I need to tape my class, and then take it so that I get a feel for how I am doing. Oh dear................yeah must get on to doing that eh!
Another thing that is really interesting is the different energy a class can have. Now I know from my own practice that each class can be SO different and more often than not it has nothing to do with whomever is teaching, but rather with how I am feeling, what I have eaten, my own mindset etc. But I do know, that having a teacher who can motivate you and help you forget how crap you might feel, how hard you might be working, how tired you might feel etc, is a god-send and so I aspire to be able to do that for yogis in the class.
For now though, its baby steps for Moi and I just have to concentrate on getting the basics right before I start adding my own thoughts and insights.
I find each class an honour and a pleasure to teach and I am thankful that people put aside 90 minutes in their day to come and spend time in our studio and I can only ask that they enjoy their class with me and want to come back again.