I’m about to complete my first 6 months as a yoga teacher after the first HotTT my hot yoga teacher training. And even if it seems like a short period of time compared to the experienced teachers that I have had the chance to learn from, I think that these words may help some of the trainees that are reading through the asana essentials right now.
I will always be thankful for teaching my first public class at the Evolation Yoga Colombia studio. The studio where I began practicing yoga for the first time, the studio where I was taught how to start aligning my body the proper way and the studio where they encouraged me to go to my teacher training.
after my hot yoga teacher training… teaching in Bogota
My first two public classes weren’t as bad as I would have thought, teaching in my language and not in English gave me the boost of confidence that I needed, at least, to get into the heated room. Just as in my hot yoga teacher training, I did not move an inch from my self designated spot during the whole 90 minutes. And every time I became nervous about what I should say next, I would stat improvising – meaning more synonyms in my vocabulary and less on the asana essentials.
What I realized in that very first class though, was the power that my voice (or to be more accurate – my commanding skills) had. Teaching to other trainees is sometimes more challenging for the trainees themselves than for the trainee-teacher that is teaching at the moment. The group of trainees try to help the “teacher to be” by going ahead. Since they obviously know all the postures and can do every little adjustment that the asana essential narrates before the essentials have had a chance to get there. At my hot yoga teacher training I taught a group of people that knew what they were doing better than anybody I’ll ever teach at a public class. And yet, I was nervous. We were nervous. So here goes my first piece of advice, relax a little bit. You are not going to make those people suffer; even in a million classes back to back. They are experienced practitioners in a nurturing environment and they know how to take care of their precious bodies.
But back to my first public class. My first class after my hot yoga teacher training was a real challenge. Being late in the day and rainy I only had six people show up. But among those six, four were there for their first class, another guy was taking his second class and the other girl was coming back for her third class. All in all, the six practitioners had a combined 3 classes behind them. And it was my first time teaching.
And here I am guiding them through wind removing pose when I realize that they were all staring at me while they were doing the posture. I didn’t look at myself at the mirror but I’m pretty sure that my face turned red. The good thing about this awkward situation was when out of some corner of my mind I remember one of the many bits of advice that we were given during our teaching clinics, “use your voice to make them do what you want them to do.” Suddenly I listened to myself saying, “look at the ceiling, conscious breathing, pull a little bit harder.” And something amazing happened, they all did as I said; they changed their gaze and stopped looking at me. From that moment on I actually understood that I was a teacher. I was their teacher and they were trusting me. I was so happy after this class that I took a picture so that I will always be able to remember that feeling and my first students.
after my hot yoga teacher training part II….. Santa Barbara!
After this experience I was lucky enough to go back to Santa Barbara and teach at the gorgeous Evolation Yoga Santa Barbara studio that opened last February. The studio that we saw being built during our teacher training. I was also lucky enough to practice again at the house where I learned how to be a teacher. There a weird sensation bubbled up in me. I was nervous as hell teaching to my friends. So here goes my second bit of advice. I promise it will be better after your hot yoga teacher training once you are not surrounded by the intense learning environment. You might not want to leave the bubble, but believe me you are ready, and it will certainly help you as a teacher.
after my hot yoga teacher training part III….. Costa Rica!
Since then I only have good words for my hot yoga teacher training experience. I’ve been teaching three months in Costa Rica mainly to people that have been introduced to yoga through my classes and I think that is something precious as a yoga teacher. I’m now used to receiving broad smiles after every class. Since the people that come to my classes are new, and the hotel owners have a preset notion of what yoga is, I have to adjust my classes to those around me. There is no heat in any of the studios I’ve been in (although Costa Rica is plenty hot and humid), classes have been restricted to 60 minutes and I’ve been demonstrating the hot yoga sequence while teaching. All these thing are very different from the studios I’ve been in and some of what I learned in my hot yoga teacher training, but I’ve greatly appreciated each new opportunity to learn. And to be honest, I have to confess that teaching (back in English) and demonstrating at the same time has greatly helped me learn the asana essentials. Now I feel that I can link every movement to every word that I say from my teacher role and now I know that I’m ready for the next step where I’m starting to feel comfortable correcting the students.
These six months have definitely proven to me that I’m on the right path. I love this practice and being able to share this love with people that are open to it is really fulfilling. Not only am I surrounded by broad smiles after every class, I’ve been also told things like “you’ve opened me to a whole new world”, “you are a natural” or “you have such a sweet and relaxing yoga voice” that encourage me to keep on walking this wonderful path.