5 years ago this month I taught my first yoga class.
I had just completed a 200 hour Hot Yoga teacher training and I couldn't wait to share the wealth of knowledge I had accumulated (Look out Asheville! Here comes Lindsay Fields, RYT200!). The class was held in a gym and we used space heaters and homemade door draft blockers to heat the room. I had a carefuly curated playlist and flyers I designed myself. Most of the students in that class consisted of my friends and family. And it was pretty great, if I do say so myself.
5 years ago this month I was ready. I felt fresh, optimistic, and excited.
What I would encounter following that first class, was more challenging than I expected. Starting a new yoga class, in a new location, in a different style than was was already established here in Asheville, and all with a non-existent advertising budget, was not easy. It was lot of hard work and often met with disappointment, questions, and lessons.
In the last 5 years I have had many classes where no students showed up. I've been "let go" by yoga studios and gyms. I have felt frustrated, misunderstood, criticized, ridiculed, and even wronged at times and I have made plenty of mistakes myself.
So, why continue? Moreover, how can I continue and maintain the purity and authenticity of yoga without being colored by the negative expereinces?
Without a doubt, it has been my personal practice that has kept me grounded and honest. Meditation, self reflection, yamas and niyamas, discipline, equanimity, letting go of attachment, friendliness, and compassion are more than words I memorized for a teaching certificate, they are my life. When offering a class or workshop I consider it for a while first. Before I begin a new project or class, I meditate and get clear about my intentions. I remind myself of why I practice yoga and what led me to that first teacher training. I consider my students and I am careful where I choose to teach and what people/businesses I work with.
And I think maybe the negative experiences are part of the yoga. They are the teachers, my practice being reflected back at me.
Yes, there have been bumps along the way, but those bumps in my path have led me to treasured friendships, more teacher trainings, a deeper personal practice, and a life I truly love. Through it all, I have always enjoyed leading yoga classes. Whether to 1 person or 30, I always leave with a big ol' YES in my heart.
So, 5 years later, a little older, and perhaps wiser. How do I feel about teaching yoga?
Grateful. Settled. Inspired.