January 25, 2013

How to Be More Than Just Another Yoga or Pilates Teacher: Building Confidence. ~ Chantill Lopez

Photo: Víctor Ulises Lara Peña

I always ask the teachers I work with: What is needed most in your teaching?

Across the board, regardless of where they are in their teaching, a majority of them answer: “I need to build confidence.”

This is truly amazing, but not all that surprising to me. Our teaching paths are always morphing. We grow, learn, change philosophies, add theories and constantly evolve. It’s no wonder we feel like we need confidence when the ground is often shifting under us.

But does our confidence really ebb and flow because of life’s unrelenting ups and downs, or have we not taken the time to look at those things that keep us stable?

We frequently hear the phrase, “The only thing you can count on in life is change.” And I’ve found that it’s pretty right on. So, instead of wishing life were different than it is—full of change—our energy is better focused on finding ways to stay balanced and grounded in spite of change.

So, what do you do? It’s actually simple. You can make a list of those things that never change in your life and make a conscious effort to make them your foundation.

Ask yourself: What, in your life, are you most committed to?

What, beyond the many changes of life—job changes, relationship changes, personal growth—are the things that dictate how you are in the world?

What are you most committed to?

Let that be the pool your confidence flows from. Let that set you apart.

Here’s a little of what I am talking about:

In my life, one of the things I am most committed to is generosity. When I feel unsure about my teaching, or nervous about a new class or a difficult student, I let all of my doubt slip aside and focus on being generous.

I ask myself: How can I let my commitment to generosity dictate my behavior and guide me through the elements of teaching that I feel lacking in? As I do this, I draw from something deeper than the current skill I am working on or concept I am trying to convey. With patience and practice I get better at what I do, and generosity guides me to it.

Are you on a journey to be a teacher?

I was a journalist and a dancer before I became a teacher. I had tried my hand at teaching when I was younger and had sworn teaching would never be the path for me. I didn’t start teaching because I wanted to teach. I started teaching because journalism nearly killed me—and my creative spirit—and I was not willing to turn my joy in dancing into a way of making money.

I started teaching because I had to do something that made me feel inspired, and moving did that more than anything else I had ever known.

So, truthfully, I started teaching in order to be happy, to feel strong and free. Teaching Pilates was simply an excuse to engage in the thing that lit me up.

It turned out to be much more than I bargained for—infinitely richer! It became a way of knowing myself more fully, a way of knowing the world more fully. Teaching became the reason and the way to be a better person, to see the best in others, to make a difference and see a difference in myself.

So, if you wonder how to set yourself apart and have a poignant, powerful impact as a yoga, Pilates or similar teacher, then get on the teacher’s path. Begin to see what is there, beyond the method you teach. Take stock of who you are, beyond trying to be like others, or, worse, trying to set yourself apart.

[This is Part Two of a two-part series. Read Part One here.]


Chantill Lopez is a writer and master Pilates teacher. She currently spends her time working on what inspires her to be a better person, knowing that whether she stands apart or not, it feels good! Learn more about Chantill, her project Skillful Teaching and her new book Moving Beyond Technique: How To Nurture Your Passion, Master Your Craft, and Create a Thriving Pilates Business by following the links!



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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Assistant Ed.: Jayleigh Lewis

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