I did it!
Today I taught my first full-length class to the group. And it was awesome.
One of the major evaluation aspects of this training is (obviously) your ability to lead a class. We’re fortunate to get two opportunities to do this, the first counting as a practice, then again a few days later to actually be evaluated on. For most of the people here at this YTT (myself included), this is their VERY FIRST time doing anything like this, so having a practice class is a really awesome tool. Post-class, our instructor gives feedback on what you did well, and what could use improvement. And after lots of hugs and high fives, you can also persuade your classmates to let you know what they thought.
I’ve been working on my sequence in my head since day 1. Or maybe even before then – just kind of taking a mental note of anything that I really loved in a class I’ve attended. I used to do this to tuck it away for the times when I would practice by myself at home, but I definitely noticed myself doing it in more of an “I want to steal this” way in the weeks leading up to this training. So once it came time to actually program my own class, my problem wasn’t knowing where to start, or trying to fill an entire 60 minute slot, it was what to leave out so I wouldn’t go over my time!
I finally whittled it down to 60 minutes, then it was time to work on my music. First playlist draft? 2 hours, 26 minutes. Oh. Good. Once I got the music situation not only under control, but to a PERFECT 59:05, my lovely roommate was kind enough to let me teach her my class. I was nervous, and unsure of myself, and all those other icky feelings. After the first go-through, I was totally rattled. Everything that sounded so good and so smooth and so automatic in my head was really, really hard to put into words that would come out of my mouth. I couldn’t figure out my cues, much less get left and right straight (this is something that’s been hard for me my whole life – I make a big ‘L’ with my index finger and thumb at least once a day – so I don’t know why it was surprising). Kind of the way it feels when I start speaking French to someone. I know that I know it, and it’s perfect in my head, but it just won’t come out right.
Something weird happened though. I didn’t worry about it. As in, I didn’t keep practicing it. Not in my head, not out loud to myself, and certainly not to anyone else. Until last night. I “taught” roomie and another girl, and it was better. Still, I lay awake far past my bedtime (which has been 10:30 here), totally nervous. I slept poorly, and woke up way before my alarm (so as not to waste precious stressing time on silly things like sleep). I was the 4th girl to teach today, so I made my way through 3 other practices, trying to really give each of them my full attention, mostly failing miserably since I was so stuck in my head. Then, it was my turn. I got everyone set up, tucked my little cheat sheet under the corner of my mat, and pressed play on my iPhone. I decided to start my class with a short reading, channeling one of my favourite teachers from home. For the first few lines, my voice shook. I felt that little sting of tears welling up like they always do when I’m in a situation where I feel overwhelmed. But I kept reading, and by halfway through, my voice was strong and clear. I felt empowered and strong and all of those awesome “girl power” words.
And then I kinda, if I do say so myself, kicked ass.
I didn’t have to check my cheat sheet. I hit all my cues the way that I wanted to, and I only screwed up left vs right once. The hour flew by, and before I knew it I had everyone in savasana and was sitting on my mat at the front of the class, hands in prayer at my heart, with more tears threatening to spill over. This time though, tears of joy. Pride. Release. I did it. And I did it well. All I had to do was step out of my head, step out of my own way, stop over-thinking it, and let it happen.
After class, there were only glowing reviews. From my teacher, and from my fellow students. The words “you’re a natural” may have even been tossed around. And it felt so good.
PS: for everyone who has predicted that I’m going to come home totally transformed, a witch doctor, only playing kundalini chants, chimes and instrumentals in my classes….I played The Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, and a dubstep remix of Ellie Goulding. And we only said “om” once. I’m still me.