I'm going to start this post off by contradicting myself. Lately, I've noticed that teaching can be hard work!
At first, fresh out of training, teaching was ridiculously exciting. Every time I went into the studio, I was like "omigod omgod I get to teach again!" I'd be nervous, I'd be excited, I'd even be tripping over myself a little bit. New relationship jitters. You know what I mean! And I've been traveling around a decent amount - I've actually taught at ten different studios now! - so the constant variety has definitely kept things new and interesting.
But even with all this, a certain amount of.... repetition.... starts to set in. Let's be perfectly honest. We teachers say the same exact thing, sometimes word for word, every single day. So yes, there are times when it feels repetitive. Yes, there are times when it's tiring. Yes, there are times - just like practicing - when it's time to go to the studio and you'd rather just sleep in a little longer or stay home and watch TV (but skipping out is not an option now!) Yes, was a moment when I read someone's chipper Facebook update saying "I'm teaching class tonight!!!!!!" and I just thought, "Uuuuuuuuuuuggghhh... I wish I had your energy!"
That last thought mainly crops up when my teaching-to-practicing ratio gets off, by the way. Word to the wise: the surest way I've found to put myself in a cranky mood is to teach a string of classes in a row (like more than 3 or 4) without practicing in between. Even if I practice in the morning, then teach 2 in the evening and 2 the next morning, I can kinda feel it by that 4th class. So I am learning to be clever about scheduling. Clever-er. I don't think that's a word. I am learning to be "more clever."
Here's the saving grace: just like practicing, teaching can GIVE you energy when it goes right. And I mean TONS of energy.
I was talking about this with my friend Teri last week, who has taught for 5 years and opened a studio 2 years ago. We were talking about teaching by the dialogue and how it's not rocket science. In fact, I kind of want that on a t-shirt. "Use the Dialogue. IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE." As Bikram says: "Just say what I said!!" So I was saying, "You know, with all due respect to the amount of time and effort that everyone puts into this job, it's pretty damn simple. I mean, you already know what you have to say. It's kind of tiring, but it's not rocket science here."
But Teri's answer was even better. She said that no, it's not rocket science. And when you do it right, it's not even tiring! You get so much energy from your students, from their successes and breakthroughs, from seeing their bodies change. She said, "This is the easiest job in the world."
This morning, I kinda hauled my butt out of bed, grabbed an apple and a couple crackers, and rolled down to the studio. High ho, high ho, it's off to work we go! Opened the studio, turned on the humidifier, signed in the class, made introductions, gave smiled, fired up the microphone, started pranayama breathing. The usual.
It was one of the most awesome classes I've ever taught. Not because of anything amazing that *I* did. I just did my job. But I did one thing right. I helped a woman who had the wrong hand placement in fixed firm. Just flipped her hands around. Simple correction, but it got her down onto her elbows much more easily. Then I told her to relax her head, and suddenly she was all the way down in the full expression of the posture, surprising the heck out of BOTH of us! It put the biggest smile on her face. Then she grabbed both her heels in camel - I think that might have been a first time for that, too - and wow, it was like someone had lit up a spotlight inside of her. It was SO cool. I don't have a better word. Beautiful, maybe.
After class she came out with this big smile on her face, and I couldn't stop smiling either. I was so excited for her, excited WITH her. I was high for hours after that class, pacing around the living room, drinking a totally unnecessary iced coffee, raving on the phone to another teacher about the amazing experience I'd just had. Because after the first 59 classes, here's what I finally discovered: when your students have these breakthrough moments, you get to ride along with them. It was like it was ME, having that brilliant experience for the first time. It felt JUST like that.
This is the easiest job in the world.
Time to go do it again!
Also, the Ultima giveaway is still going on through the weekend. Please see the last post for details if you haven't already entered your name!