Class Notes, Week 41: My first karma yoga class

The Moksha yoga teacher training program requires me to journal once each week about my experience with the poses and assignments + my practice and progress. This is part of that weekly assignment.

Shakespeare made an appearance in my yoga class today.

I borrowed the famous playwright’s line from “Hamlet” to help set the class intention: “To thine own self be true.”

How could I have guessed, back when I was a high school student, that Shakespeare would weave itself into a yoga class that I’d be teaching as a thirty-something?

This morning was my first karma yoga class.  These are $8 classes taught by Moksha teacher trainees aka “faculty,” according to the Moksha website.  I will be teaching a handful of these classes over the summer.  It’s a way to refine my teaching skills, work with new bodies, gain confidence, etc. — and, of course, gift students with yoga at a discount.

Since my class began at 8 a.m. — on a Saturday morning — I was unsure it would attract any students.

But: Two young women showed up!  And they brought a nice energy into the studio, which gave me an opportunity to experiment with some new sequencing and some new music.

All it takes is to have one student to be a teacher, right?

I spent last night drafting a “rough sketch” of what I thought I’d teach — knowing that I’d need to modify, depending on the ability level of the student(s).  I wanted to have a blueprint, just in case.

Besides, with each karma class, I want to try something different.  I look at these six to eight classes as an opportunity to experiment with cues and sequences, and hopefully start to develop my true yoga teacher personality.  It’s one part planning, one part improvisation.

With these two students, I wound up improvising quite a bit.  I noticed one of them continuing to sip her water.  Staying hydrated is great, but I questioned whether my sequencing might have been too challenging?  Hmmm.  So I slowed things down a bit.  She was the student who also encouraged me to check her alignment and asked me if she was doing things “right.”  I appreciated this, but it also taught me that I shouldn’t be so hesitant to be more proactively hands on with some students — and of course, watch all of the students more thoughtfully.  I hesitated to give hands-on adjustments in this class because of its intimacy.  If I kept going up to each of them to provide assists, would they get upset?  Plus, I wanted the girls to have fun without feeling like they were doing anything “wrong” …

But I really need to be more observant of my students, and not hesitate to give adjustments.  It’s a delicate balance that I am still navigating.  Perhaps moving forward, at the top of class I will just qualify what it means to give adjustments — to help with safety and to go deeper — so that students’ egos don’t get in the way.  And mine doesn’t either.

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