I know this is going to sound like an overly-emphatic statement, but it’s true: Today was one of the most victorious days of my life. I slayed the freakin’ dragon.
I’ve been feeling overly calm about the fact that my group of teacher trainees was teaching our first public class today. When I got up this morning, I just had a little flutter of butterflies in my stomach because I was preoccupied by the excitement of going back to training after a few weeks off. It felt great getting up early, getting on the T and heading for the studio, then seeing everyone trickling in and catching up. It felt like coming home. Like no time had passed.
Then, once we were settled onto our mats, it hit me that I was going to have to get up and teach today. I turned to my friend, K., and said, “I feel nauseous.” This was not a turn of phrase. I felt extremely and dangerously nauseous. I was torn between wanting 2:30 (the time the class started) to never come, and wanting 2:30 to hurry up already, so that I could get this behind me.
After lunch, we practiced our teaching sequence in front of the half of the TT class that’s teaching their public class tomorrow. My part of the sequence is toward the end; I sat there with clammy hands, my stomach churning. Finally my turn came. It went okay and my feedback from our teacher, Ryan, was good, but I couldn’t fathom that I had to do this again, and this time in front of an actual class composed of people I don’t know.
Everything happened in a blur. As soon as we finished “rehearsing,” the public class came flooding through the door. By an act of grace, us trainees were told that we would be doing the sequence with the class until the time came for us to help assist a couple of trainee rounds, and then to teach ourselves. This ended up being great because, as opposed to sitting there with nothing to focus on but my impending turn as I had done during rehearsal, this time I got to breathe and work out some of the anxiety and stress in asanas. It actually couldn’t have worked any better.
Finally, my turn came. Well, before my actual turn, I assisted a couple other trainees’ rounds … which, honestly, was nerve-wracking in and of itself. It’s one thing to practice adjusting my classmates; another to practice on unknown commodities, some of whom have never done yoga before. Then my turn came. And, honestly, it was a bit of a blur. When it was over, I didn’t know how I had done. I thought I did okay, but didn’t think that it had been that great either–although, hard to tell, since it was all kind of an adrenalized muddle in my head.
After our practice class, feeling like the weight of the world was off of my shoulders, I braced myself as Ryan and Caitlyn warned us that they would be doling out constructive criticism–that this was our one opportunity to really get feedback on our teaching that would ultimately make us better teachers in the future. So, around the class they went, critiquing all of the trainees one by one. About 3/4 of the way through the group evaluation, it was my turn. I steeled myself for whatever they were going to say … but what they had to say was all positive! The word “fantastic” was even thrown down. I could hardly believe it, and I’m still smiling.
I can literally say that this probably falls into my list of Top 5 things I’m most proud of myself for in life. Yes, I want to teach yoga (obviously), but this was nonetheless so scary for me–to get up in front of people and take command of a classroom. It’s not just the public speaking element (although that’s a huge, huge fear of mine), but also the fact that this doesn’t generally fall under the realm of things that I’m “supposed” to do. I’ve always been much more “bookworm” than “athlete,” so the fact that I’m even doing this training in and of itself is something that sort of breaks my traditional mold. And to have done okay at it despite all of the fear and unknowns? It feels freaking phenomenal.