Being a yoga teacher is an exceedingly fulfilling profession. People put their lives in your hands for an hour or so as you guide them somewhere. That somewhere is different for every person. But, hopefully, somewhere is a good place to be.
With the end of the University semester, attendance at the studio can be ethereal. Then you have family vacations and people aching to get away. Summer weekends camping or hanging out at the lake. Kids soccer and baseball. And often life changes. Its almost simpler in the cold of winter when you want to be indoors. Winter is much more stable. And indoor yoga seems like the reasonable choice.
As a yoga teacher, sometimes you wonder who will show. Most times, you are content knowing that even if one person shows up, you’ll get to share what you love with them. Other times, you stand at the window and watch for your friends to come into class, not knowing if anyone wants yoga today.
I used to teach a 6am class at a wellness club on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was a tiny, but fun little room with nice floors and great ambient lighting. I had 3 or 4 dedicated yogis who were almost always there. I’d say like 93% of the time I could count on them. Occasionally, we’d have an infrequent visitor come in for class. It was a great time while I was first teaching to create creative classes that met their needs. So as not to bore the heck out of the class, I changed the format often and got as creative as I could with the poses. However, these were seasoned yogis about my age who didn’t take well to overly dance-like or spiritually mumbo-jumbo kinds of things. In some yoga classes, you’ll get somewhat silly Simon Says kinds of things of extra motions that have very little meaning to most people. So I try my best to stay away from fluff. This group of yogis taught me to do what’s important and leave the fluff to others.
The problem was, when one or two of these yogis didn’t show up, it left me with the 1 or 2 remaining. And while I’ve always enjoyed personal yoga sessions, its not quite what I signed up for with a group class. These beautiful souls were always early, usually arriving before I did. So if I walked in and one person was there, my heart skipped a beat. I would sweat with anticipation for another person to come.
I’ve also had workshops where my wife would sign up, a loyal friend would come, and then another close friend. That’s it. I’ve had workshops where I’d ask a fellow teacher to come and bring a piece of equipment and offer their two cents in class. But in the last minute, they didn’t show up. Workshops where you get paid a percentage and not a set rate like group classes can be tricky. You usually invest a lot of time beforehand planning for a workshop. It is usually feast or famine in those situations given the time spent. Truth be told, I’ve been to workshops that weren’t very well done or the teacher wasn’t very present. So you have to be careful where you spend your money. I understand that. People are cautious.
But the joy of having a full class, or filling a workshop, makes up for all the heartache of expectancy. When I taught my debut yoga class, 32 of my friends showed up and filled our studio. I was so very pleased! I’ve sold out workshops and glow yoga events. Its a good feeling when you have a product people want to buy. And to send them away satisfied and wanting more is even better. It’s what makes being a yoga teacher so very gratifying.
Last night was a class like that. I’m loving life.