08/12/2017 Facing My Fear of Teaching Yoga

Wow, it’s Saturday! I am now seven weeks in on my 100-hour Ashtanga teacher training with Scott! I must say that time flies and I’m not ready to say hello to the end of this training yet. During this training I’ve learned so much and has felt my practice deepen tremendously. I must say I’ve transformed my practice into a more meaningful one by not only practicing on the mat on a weekly basis, but through studying the philosophy of Ashtanga, the mantras, the art of hands-on assists, and so much more. Most importantly, my student’s played a significant role in expanding my practice (which I will talk more about in this blog post, so keep reading! 🙂 ) The purpose of this blog post is to share my journey of overcoming my fear of teaching yoga. It’s about time to exhale away my fears!
Like any journey, there is a ton of effort involved. I started from waking up at 6:00 am to 4:00 am in the morning, just so I can commute to the city from Queens to get my full practice in and then go back to Queens for work. My practice would leave me sweating (and I am usually dry like a dessert while everyone is sweating like a pig on a sunny day, haha). There are days where I would feel oh-so-tired or sore the next day from the intense practice, but I would still get up and go because I know a day without my yoga practice would be incomplete.

The hardest battle of all, is the courage to start teaching yoga but seriously, I think it is the best decision I’ve ever made! As more and more people approached me to teach them yoga lessons, I knew sooner or later I had to face my fear and overcome it. Friends approached me to give yoga lessons for back injuries, my patients at work would get excited and return after their doctor’s visit to ask when I will start teaching, students from my college and gym would ask me to teach to help increase their flexibility and range of motion. And many other opportunities started to come such as a possible yoga teaching position at my college once the semester starts! 

Of course there was excitement mixed in my fear but my fear of teaching was no joke. Our mind can be our worse enemy at times. I’ve probably imagined every possible way I can mess up in a yoga teaching session in my head I had to put a stop to it before it gets out of control. So, one day I told myself: “No more of this brain craze. Just do it Christine. Do it from your heart. Teach what you know just like what Scott says and embrace your fear!” Deep inside I knew that the only way to overcome my fear is to just start teaching and get experience.

After teaching four private yoga sessions this past week I realized how much I’ve missed out! Why did I not realize this sooner and spare all this nonsense? I’ve wasted so much time and energy on freaking myself out that I’ve completely limited myself from fully blooming with love and joy that I get from teaching.

During my teaching sessions, I’ve learned so much. It also gave me homework to do after class because I would reflect on what I can do better and think about what I can do to make the practice more accessible and sustainable for them. For instance, there are poses such as Utthita Trikonasana that I didn’t struggle with that my students did so I had to do extra research to learn more about them, and then pretend to be my students so I can teach myself the modifications. Another was learning how to read students and give good verbal cues. A total beginner student may not be able to understand what a “fold forward” cue would mean in a Uttanasana.

I actually really enjoy teaching privates because I can customize and individualize a person’s practice based on their physical limitations and mental mindsets. Their amazing feedbacks during and after the class inspires me even more and drives me to keep learning and studying yoga at different angles and perspectives. It inspires me even more to see the effects of yoga working on them so quickly and to have the opportunity to observe it first hand. Just imagine how I felt when I watched my student moving his arms and shoulders in awe at how much more range of motion and lightness there was. And even went on to say that my class was so much better than the class he took at Bryant Park! Lastly, I must give them a full round of applause for taking the time to practice yoga on the mat! Their determination to learn and come back for more is truly rewarding. I am so grateful to be their teacher and serve as their guidance and support in their yoga journey! 

Eventually, I hope to cultivate enough confidence to start teaching a full-size class and not only privates. And you bet, I will be making a blog post on that when it happens! So subscribe to my website and be sure to revisit! Namaste!

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment down below because that’s where the best conversations begin! <3

And lastly, I want to give special thanks to all my friends for cheering me on and believing in my potential in becoming a great yoga teacher. As well as all my teachers for passing on their knowledge of yoga and love in their students.