I’ve been teaching yoga for eight years, and I can’t begin to convey the “blood, sweat and tears” that have gone into my teaching career.
After teaching my morning yoga class, a few days ago, I received an email from a student expressing how much she loves my classes because there is “grace in the flow, the music, and [my] personal grace” that makes the class, she concluded, “such a special experience.”
Before teaching yoga, I was not someone who was comfortable being in front of a group of people, let alone teaching/guiding/inspiring others. If I could go back in time and peer into my Sunday morning class, full of beautiful souls taking ‘my’ yoga class, well, I guess I’d first faint and then I’d be really proud of myself and blown away. That’s how deep my fear of public speaking ran. And still does sometimes.
You could say that I’ve conquered my fears over the last several years, and that has, I believe, contributed to this sense of grace my student was speaking of. (And, by the way, she is one of the most graceful people I’ve ever met).
What is grace? Grace, I believe, comes when you have a deep sense of gratitude for where you are and where you’ve been.
There’s also a feeling of freedom that comes when you meet your fears head on. I can be genuine because I don’t have to hide anymore from those fears. Of course, there are days when I go back to that old place of anxiety, when, for instance, my class is being observed or one of ‘my’ teachers attends my class, but as a wise yoga teacher I know recently noted, this is an indication that you’re still growing and moving out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes, I feel that because I have not had any major “showings” for my growth and transformation, in terms of worldly success or big markers, that, besides people in the yoga world and my close friends, no one knows of my “success.”
Someone I hadn’t seen in a long time asked me, recently, at a family event if I was still working at a clothing store that I’d worked at many years ago (retail was never my thing and that was a challenging time in my life). The question took me by surprise and ruffled my feathers; my response that “I have been teaching yoga for years” hung in the air between us and felt awkward. She nodded her head politely and did not seem impressed. On good days, I laugh at stuff like this; you can’t take things too seriously in this life. Better, anyway, to invest your energy in healthy and proactive practices than dwell (if you know anything about Astrology, this isn’t always an easy task for a Scorpio Rising person).
So, I’ve decided to “toot my own horn,” as my mother would say. This was a big “no no” when I was growing up, and I’m breaking the rules. I am proud of the work I’ve done over the past several years and the grace my students see in me, and that I see in myself. It has been hard earned.
I am grateful for this practice of yoga and all the students who “show up” to my classes and, even, for the misguided questions and moments that can be transformed if we do the work and allow in grace.