The Zen of Teaching

I had to write today about the continued enlightenment and enjoyment I am getting out of teaching yoga. I’ve only been teaching for a year, so I consider myself quite newly minted and certainly no “guru” of any sort. All I try to do is share everything I know (and continue to learn about) with my students so that their lives can be somehow enhanced…so that their wellness and peace can be increased.

The fact that I am not permanently rooted down at a studio (or hopefully my own soon!), has made it so that I really am a nomad encountering yoga practitioners of all backgrounds, body types, levels, etc. I never quite know what or who the next class will bring, and it’s kind of an amazing thing. I’ve dealt with people who were more advanced and looking for “a killer workout”, people who are frightened newbies, people who are pregnant and people who are considerably overweight with very little mobility. I know that as a teacher, I cannot possibly be all things to all people, but I try my best. I’m finding that I rely less and less on the painstakingly organized/printed spreadsheet of poses next to my mat on the floor, and more on what I see and experience right before me in the here and now. It is the greatest blessing in the world that all the white noise and static and worries in my mind are completely gone as I try my best to focus and guide the students through a positive experience. Writing music and teaching yoga are really the only two things that seem to give me peace.

Anyway, it has been such a pleasure meeting new people and adjusting to their personalities, big and small, on the fly. Last night I could literally see a bit of fear and confusion in a student’s face, and with some kind and gentle attention, I think I was able to help him feel more at ease…some gentle adjustments, and demonstrating the poses right next to him. It never pays to just stay at the front of the class; I’m always coming back and squeezing in between two students to practice in parallel with them. I often don’t know if I will see someone again at class in the future, but I often do…and even if I don’t, I’m pretty sure I had a positive effect on them when I did have the opportunity to work with them.

I do have that critical voice sometimes pop up in my head, saying: “You hardly know anything! If they only knew what a hypocrite you are. You don’t practice yoga every day. If they could see you in front of the TV, eating goodies sometimes! And you need to remember more of the Sanskrit terms from the asanas, and the Sutras and all the scientific anatomy!” But I feel my heart responding to this voice in such a calm and rational manner: “Hey! We’re learning, teaching, synthesizing as much as we can every day. This process will never end–it will just keep growing for a lifetime, and that’s what makes it so cool.”

I really do need to apply that attitude towards the other things I do in life. I need to give myself credit for how far I’ve come, and take enjoyment in the here and now.

McKenna Rowe is the Founder of Chakra 5 Mobile Yoga, an experienced team of corporate yoga instructors that provides mobile yoga classes on location and by appointment at businesses, schools and organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. Call us to start your corporate wellness program today: 310-853-3885.

Posted in Philosophy, Yoga Business