We’ve all had the same heartbreaking and puzzling thoughts at some point while teaching a class: “This isn’t just the worst class I’ve ever taught, this is the worst class ever taught in the history of yoga.” In fact, the rating “at some point” is that I’m generous – we’ve all (yes, ALL) had that feeling more than a few times.
Because you’re a consummate professional, highly trained in objectivity and managing your emotions, you’ve probably finished class without burying your head on your back or breaking down in tears. But honestly, what do you do with that voice, that feeling of not being totally committed or clear when you’re teaching? (What do you do when you are convinced that you have just taught a very bad yoga class?)
Well, let’s start by looking at the facts:
It probably wasn’t as bad as you think
Seriously, it probably wasn’t as bad as you think. Teaching yoga is a raw and vulnerable experience, and sometimes you stick to it. People often talk about the importance of being authentic. What’s left out of this discussion is that being authentic means showing who you really are and expressing what you really care about. Carrying your heart up your sleeve isn’t always easy or enjoyable, especially if you feel like you’re not communicating or checking. When this happens, your inner narrator can tell you that it is much, much worse than it really is.
Even if the class was as bad as you thought, well …
Did you just teach a really bad yoga class, the worst class in yoga history? OKAY. It’s time to let go and move on. That’s what you’d say to someone else, right? If the class was really bad, consider it human. You are not a robot and even the most experienced professionals have days off. If you’re not into sports, it’s time to start to get some perspective. Not all top pitchers play a great game every time. In fact, none of them do. And luckily, yoga students are infinitely friendlier in the middle of a quiet night than sports fans (especially if you live in Philadelphia).
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Remember that students are having a different experience than the teacher
Are you ready for some ego news? Students are not listening to all your words or vibrations. Students are paying attention to you, but they also have their own experience. They are doing yoga, not just listening to you pontificate. Trust that even if you didn’t give your most exciting class, your students had a chance to breathe, move their body, and have their own experience. What’s more, they probably feel better after class than before.
A few more things to remember when making a bomb
-You are human and you are teaching live. This means that you will stumble upon your words, feel energetically flat, forget the second side of a sequence, and mismanage your time from time to time.
-You have the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes. Be as objective as possible about what didn’t work in your class and learn from it. As teachers, we are committed to growing and learning, which means that we are not yet perfect.
-Breathe the challenges of teaching your class and your nervous emotions; then exhale and release.
-Get comforted by the fact that all teachers go through this, included the most popular and respected teachers. In fact, my advice is to get used to times like this because they never stop; just improve contextualizing them and letting them go.
See also 5 tips for new yoga teachers
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