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Thursday, April 16, 2009

on teaching

svasana adjustment at sipi river lodge
photo credits joe shymanski

When I was finishing up the "apprenticeship" component of my yoga teaching training last year, I had to teach parts of a few private group classes in my mentor Judy's home in Woodley Park. I'd head off on the Surly in the early summer light; the anxiety and the bike ride making me feel very much alive. Judy didn't like to prep me too much before the classes - she'd be teaching and then say, "and now Halle will lead us through balancing postures." At which point my brain would start to sift and scroll through sanskrit and posture nicknames. No matter how much my nerves would cause me to sweat and shake, I always left class feeling totally invigorated.

I moved to Uganda with the full intention of teaching yoga at Kevin and Gavin's studio in Munyonyo, but it took me almost two full months to finally accept an invite to teach. I'd just returned from South Africa, and Kevin suggested that I sub their Sunday morning class. I laughed nervously and then accepted. At 2:30 am on Sunday morning I was still burning incense and perfecting my playlist.

I love to practice yoga, but I'm coming to realize that I love teaching yoga in a completely different way. Much like giving and receiving gifts, there's something to be said for experiencing both sides of the equation. The giving part I like the most is svasana, when I can prance around the room with herbal eye pillows, adjusting all the students and giving them head massages. I love the squinty-eyed bliss that follows svasana after a class that really pushed you.

All in all, I really love teaching, and I'm truly enjoying being the newbie teacher in town.

1 comment:

Nickname unavailable said...

"squinty-eye bliss" is the best descriptor of the post-yoga feeling I've ever heard. It's euphoric, keeps me coming back.

-Ryan