Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let it Rain, Let it Pour

It's a rainy Sunday evening, which has put me in a writing kind of mood!

There was a ridiculous late summer heat wave all week, so I was excited when I woke up to the sound of rain this morning.  There's no place like the hot room on a chilly, rainy weekend!  So naturally, I managed to spend about 10 hours at the yoga studio, all told, and more than 6 hours in the hot room.  Sheesh.  It never rains, but it pours!

It's been a great week at the yoga studio.  We started our "60 Day Challenge" on Monday, on the same day as the start of teacher training.  We have a student at this session in San Diego, and we are marking off his classes with stickers on our challenge board.  We're doing a slightly different take on the 60 Day Challenge: instead of having students come to class EVERY day for 60 days, they just have to come 4, 5, or 6 days a week.  Basically, they can set their own challenge.  The "ultimate" challenge is 6 days a week for 60 days, no doubles.  Our studio owner set it up this way because she doesn't want people burning themselves out on overly ambitious challenges, and I totally agree!  I love this!  It makes the challenge really accessible and sustainable for everybody.

Anyway, there's definitely been a boost in attendance this week as a result of the challenge.  I feel like there's been a boost in the studio camaraderie, too - there's something about that ritual of putting stickers on a poster that REALLY brings people together!  (I decorated the board myself and I am very proud.)  New students are getting more involved, regular students are recommitting to their practices, and the energy is palpable.

I put my name up on the challenge board and somehow managed to practice every day this week.  In all honestly, this might be the first time I've practiced 7 days in a row since teacher training... no, since BEFORE teacher training, since trainees get a day off on Sunday!  It feels good.  I also did THREE advanced practices this week - an unprecedented feat for me - bringing my class count for the week to 10, the same as the trainees.  Whoa!  I accidentally was hard-core there for a minute!  In the spirit of the "6 days a week" challenge, I think I will take a day off tomorrow.  When it rains, it pours.... but all good things in moderation!  (Burnout is the nemesis that lurks in the corner for a full time yoga teacher, but I am being vigilant against that enemy.)

Fortunately, I've been really energized by teaching lately.  In addition to the 60 day challenge, our studio also did one of those online coupon deals (similar to Groupon).  Basically, a third party website hosted a Bikram yoga coupon for 24 hours, selling a 5 class card for $20 (ridiculously cheap), and we sold over a thousand coupons!!  Our coupon was live on Thursday.  Since Friday morning, we've had a steady stream of new business coming in - some people who are familiar with Bikram yoga already, but also TONS of newbies!  It's so awesome.  Our attendance is picking up pretty significantly, and there are little handfuls of new people in almost every class.  Did I mention that I love teaching new students??  I love them.  They inspire me so much.  I love when they come out of class with that WOW! expression on their faces and start asking me questions.  My new ones were so sweet tonight.  They come to me after class and tell me about what brought them to yoga class - the stress, the knee problems, the tension - and I'm so glad that they're come to the right place.  I know that the yoga can help them to feel better, and I get to see that little spark of hope in their eyes when they start to believe in it, too.

Man, I can't even talk about that topic without getting carried away!

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  I had maybe 6 brand new students in my Sunday afternoon class today, plus a whole collection of folks still on their first month.  It never rains, but it pours.  (I knew there was a theme in here somewhere!)

One more thing worth mentioning: I passed the 100 class mark last Wednesday!  I have now taught one hundred and something classes.  I think I'm going to lose track now, but that was one milestone that I wanted to catch!  I "celebrated" by recording my 101st class and then actually practicing to it a few days later.  "Celebrated," hah.  I've been talking about doing this since my first week of teaching, but this was the first time I actually had the balls to record a class and listen to it.

So I finally took my own class on Saturday afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised - it did NOT make me want to stick a fork in my ear or swear off teaching!  It actually sounded pretty good!  The experience was more than a little bit surreal, because it was like having an audio guide to my thoughts; I was thinking the dialogue and hearing the dialogue at EXACTLY the same time, at the same pace, in the same tone.  Hah!  I also laughed at my own jokes, because I'm a huge dork and I totally forgot that I'd said those things!  I definitely found a handful of things to tighten up, but overall it was solid.  I guess  I'm really not going to lose or forget my dialogue any time soon.  Good for me!  (Never hurts to check.)  Also, my timing rocks - the vast majority of my savanasa on the floor were right at 20-25 seconds, and I never time those anymore.  I was amazed.  The recording experiment definitely made me recommit to the clarity and cleanliness of my dialogue, but it also reassured me that I have a strong foundation and I can keep focusing more on teaching.  And it made me want to keep recording, because I had no idea that taking my own class would be so much fun!  My studio owner and I have decided that we're going to "sneak attack" each other - I want her to record my class when I don't know that she's doing it!

Good times at the yoga studio...  good times.

I love the rain...

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