Been taking the show on the road this week! I'm up in Fresno right now, where I've been teaching twice a day since Monday (and practicing every day), and I am having a great time.
It's in the triple digits outside, so I've spent a lot of afternoons hiding in coffee shops (which is where I am right now). I meant to go exploring yesterday to see some tourist attractions, but I was kinda wiped out and ended up just taking a nap instead. Such is the life of a full time yoga teacher! Lots of naps. As it turns out, naps are very important, since teaching 2 plus taking 1 is very similar to practicing 3 classes every day. Putting out lots of energy. I get lots of it back - teaching is a great high - but I'm still pretty sleepy in the afternoon. Bikram always made fun of us for sleeping and eating so much at training. Well, that's basically all I want to do these days! Yoga, sleep, and eat. Yum.
I'm teaching my 30th class tonight - can you believe?! - and even though I still have tons to learn, I'm feeling comfortable with my classes here and I'm having FUN when I teach. Everyone is surprised to find out that I'm a new teacher, because I've been teaching with a lot of confidence. I keep remembering Bikram when he talked about his own confidence: "I am most confident man in world! Is not arrogance, is confidence!!" I'm not as confident as Bikram - NO ONE is as confident as Bikram!) - but I feel good, because I know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, and I'm doing it well. I'm teaching solid dialogue, I've figured out my pacing (mostly), I help the new people, I'm enthusiastic, I smile, I make them sweat, I make them laugh. I always know what I'm trying to do, even if it doesn't come out perfectly. There is plenty of trial and error - sometimes I'll say something and get a bunch of blank stares, and then I'll just make a mental notes saying "ok, that one went down like a lead balloon, try something different next time."
But mostly, I just say the dialogue. It's amazing how little you have to add to give the class "personality." I really don't say anything extra during the postures, except occasional little corrections, but I'll talk about benefits in between the postures on the floor and I say whatever comes to mind, and then people come out and say that they loved my personality. This is kinda neat, because I'm barely using ANY of my own words - I'm just teaching the way I've been taught. And smiling. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. :)
Also, holy crap, I appreciate the dialogue more every day, because it makes my job so much easier. I can't imagine teaching without it. The dialogue speaks to EVERYONE, so as long as you're saying the whole thing, you're taking care of your regular students, and that frees you to focus all your mental attention on the newbies or the ones who are struggling. So for example, I might spend all of eagle pose watching my new students like a hawk, figuring out how to help them out in the next set. I might not be thinking about the rest of the class at ALL. But as long as I'm saying the dialogue, the rest of the class think I'm still talking to THEM. I was talking to one of the students after class the other night, a regular student with a really strong practice. She knows exactly what she's doing in class, so I didn't have to watch her at all. I mean, I SAW her, but I wasn't focusing on her specifically - but after class, she said that it felt like I was talking to HER the whole time. Holy multitasking skills, Batman! I've figured out the secret! As long as you keep saying the dialogue, EVERYONE thinks that you are talking to JUST THEM. Muahaha this is amazing. I am everywhere at once. Brilliant.
Did I say something about travel? I guess I might as well mention this now: I'm leaving California at the end of the month! Eep! I gave my official notice at my studio last weekend, and now I am working on telling all my friends and packing and all that. (If you are my friend in California, and you just learned this news through the blog, I apologize about that.) I'm packing up the car and driving cross country with my sister, back to the east coast. I will be teaching at an [undisclosed] studio on the east coast. Not in Massachusetts. Sorry. I WILL be visiting Boston and Northampton in the middle of August, and then I'm going to a completely new city where I can settle down and teach full time for a few months. (The studio in my town right now does not offer ANY full time teaching positions, maximum is 6 or 8 per week, and I haven't even been getting that much. Hence all the traveling lately.) I am super excited about this move!! There have been lots of signs lately showing me that I am moving in the right direction. I'm not going to tell you guys where I'm going right now, because I don't feel like being stalked, but if I'm in your neighborhood, you will find out about it. :)
I'm also saving my frequent flier miles for a visit to San Diego in the Fall, to visit the next teacher training session!! I can't believe it's starting in only 2 months! It is CRAZY weird to be on the other side of it now. I'm having so much fun seeing all the new training blogs and discussion boards popping up all over the place. SO excited for you guys! I'm trying to come out for a full week sometime in October, so I can sit in on posture clinics, take classes, come to lectures, and laugh at you as you try to stay awake through Mahabharata. HA!
More later! Many new adventures coming soon!