My First Class as a Yoga Instructor
Article by Vanessa Stoessel
Concrete ground, large muscles, bikini’s, beach views, pool-side and sand…You wouldn’t necessarily think those words and that set-up would be conducive to a yoga class, but that happened to be my first time teaching yoga – and boy did it shed a new perspective.
Halfway through my yoga teacher training course, a few of us were relaxing by the pool exchanging stories about our lives and how we came into the yoga world, when some young men, intrigued by the large gathering of girls, approached us. After finding out that we were all there on a yoga teacher training they requested a quick pick-up lesson which mostly seemed to be only for humoring us.
I looked at the one who was most interested in learning a pose or two, and upon seeing his extremely muscular physique and especially strong upper body, I figured it best to start slowly. With such large muscles, and most likely a stiff body I initially thought, I didn’t want to scare him and his friends off from yoga just yet. So I demonstrated a simple forward fold, what us in the yoga world called Uttanasana. Muscles equaling to inflexibility is a common stereotype mind you, but don’t ever let it fool you as it did me. To my surprise his hands went straight down to the ground. After his very professional foreword fold, names like sun salutations and downward dog were rolling off his tongue…I was caught off guard, but rather excited that he had some insider knowledge of what goes on in a yoga class.
In the next moments, encouraged by our course instructor who was enjoying watching us “teach”, a fellow student and I were demonstrating yoga to three young men on concrete ground by the hotel pool. Five of us, muscular guys and girls in bikinis, were all saluting the sun. The sun salutations had gotten their blood pumping and our new “students” were excited. They wanted to try handstands and challenging arm hold postures. Thinking concrete wouldn’t be a good idea to try that on we moved to the sand on the beach. From eight angles, to handstands, crows, and forearm stands, it was a lot of fun watching the boys try out various ways of getting into poses and falling out. A half hour later, all sandy, but glowing with the flow of energy surrounding us, my fellow teacher student and I had booked ourselves our own students to join us in the afternoon of the next day for their second, but more proper lesson.
Taking on the first real student in a studio environment, can be nerve-wrecking. Questions are running through your mind – will my students enjoy the practice? What if I suddenly forget the names of poses or even the sequence? And worst, what if the practice goes overtime or isn’t even long enough? Truth be told, most students won’t be too bothered about knowing the names of the poses initially, the sequence or the length of the course, they are looking for someone to guide them through a practice that will make them feel good. Just breathe deep, instruct them a sequence you like to practice, share your experiences of how to best get into a pose ,where you feel the stretch and where the gaze should be. The secret is that yoga itself will do the rest for you.
Before their holiday ended, the boys found themselves in two more classes with us. These classes were coated with a bit more seriousness, as they were 60-minute sessions in a studio with wall space, proper flooring, and even yoga mats, but muscles and all; the boys were very inspiring. Definitely taking the yoga lessons to heart and believing in its benefits, they have continued with their practice since returning home after their holiday. I learned from this experience that muscles do not translate into inflexibility. Plus having a muscular upper body and strong core allows one to more easily hold their own weight up which means arm holds and handstands can be less of a challenge with the proper technique.
It was a lot of fun teaching these boys. They were so eager to learn and because of that I was less nervous to show them postures and sequences that is very likely for the first time anyone is teaching. At the end of savasana, the boys emerged glowing with satisfaction for having focused on breathing and stretching the limbs, as well as controlling their minds for just a moment during their travels. In the same light, it lifted my spirits by presenting me with newfound confidence in my own ability to instruct and opened my eyes to the power of yoga energy that will naturally spread through people if you only open up to it.
About the Author
Vanessa Stoessel writes content about : Yoga Teacher, Yoga Teacher Training, yoga certification, yoga holidays, Yoga Holiday. More info about yoga teacher training available at: Yoga Teacher Training