Preparing to teach a yoga class used to consist of unlimited time to play on my mat, creating sequences and exploring transitions that were fun, challenging but do-able, and most of the time, different every class. I had all the time in the world to make my classes my own, seeking inspiration from books, other teachers, and the internet. Music was always on in the background, Spotify was always on shuffle and I looked forward to Discover Weekly every Monday. Every class I taught had a playlist that was created to match the sequence I'd developed.
And then teaching 'post-baby' happened. I'd be lying if I said being back hasn't come with it's own set of challenges. Our daughter is four months old, and I think I'm *finally* learning to compartmentalize in conversation so I can focus on the person in front of me instead of just acting like I'm there but secretly thinking about my baby. It's almost embarrassing to admit, and I could blame the initial shock of sleep deprivation and total life upheaval, but for the first several weeks of our daughter's life, I had all I could do to be anywhere else but in my head - always knowing when she last ate, slept, and had a diaper change - and planning for when those things all had to happen again, over and over, around the clock.
Pre-baby, I taught with purpose, intention, and focus, and I had the time to make sure my class experience was consistent. Observing the changes in how my brain works now that I'm a Mama, I was worried about how that would impact my ability to step away from her but also prepare and provide a yoga class that was not just an after-thought.
It's been about a month now, and I'm teaching once a month at Ore Dock Brewing Co and once a week at TuliVesi Yoga. I'm working out my kinks. Initially I jumped back into it with the expectation that I'd pick up right where I left off. In some ways, I did - on the surface I could deliver a yoga class that worked, but after the first few, something didn't feel right. I kept falling short according to my own expectations of the experience I 'used to' deliver.
I've thought about it, and have had to go back to my roots and look at what my yoga 'brand' stands for. To remind us all, Effort & Ease is about:
- Mindfulness, gratitude and intention.
- Living your yoga on & off the mat.
- Whole living and loving.
- Flexibility, imperfection and forgiveness.
- Listening to your body.
- Finding the right balance even when everything is constantly changing.
- Always putting in effort, but not without a sense of ease in the process.
With this in mind, I've decided to shift my expectations, embrace imperfection, and allow myself to find balance even though it feels difficult. Moving forward, I'm approaching how I teach a bit differently.
A New Approach
It's fairly simple. Instead of having the expectation that I can create unique sequences for every class, I'm deciding to switch it up and simplify. If you come to my class, here's what you can expect.
A Monthly Focus
Each month, I intend to select a specific area of the body, or group of muscles, to focus on in class. This helps me in a few ways. I'll be able to design variations of a similar sequence that will allow me to deliver it with the clarity and purpose you all deserve when you come to class. Instead of delivering a (dare I say) half-assed class of a variety of poses, we'll hone in on a similar set of poses. We'll go deeper, we'll become more familiar, and we'll hopefully learn a thing or two about our bodies and ourselves. January ended up being about the shoulders and chest. Get ready to dive into your hips in February.
This is more than likely only something I'll notice, but I've seriously got about 40 yoga playlists. It's time for me to re-use and re-cycle some old jams. I'm going to set a goal to make one new yoga playlist a month. You might hear it more than once within that month. Have a song you want to hear, or you think I'd like? Let me know. I'm totally open to suggestions.
A Reoccurring Theme
If you ask me to grade my skills in delivering a yogic theme in my classes, I'd give myself a B at best. I think all teachers bring their own unique style and preferences to a class, and I've always swayed more toward the physical aspect of asanas: which muscles we're working and why. Moving forward, I hope to have the opportunity to better deliver a message for your mind while you're on the mat, I'm aiming for a refreshing but familiar change.
Join me for vinyasa flow. I'll be teaching the last Tuesday of each month at Yoga & Hops at Ore Dock Brewing Co, and on Thursdays at 5:45 at TuliVesi Yoga. Questions, comments, feedback? Email me: email@example.com