My Story



The Yoga Teacher Chronicles: Year in Review 2018

When I started looking into yoga teacher training programs in early 2017, I was still very much in a “working” sabbatical from my former counseling work. My “helping others” reserves were on E and I was looking for a way to reignite my soul. Finding the YogaFaith training program was the right fit at the right time. I enjoyed the experience because of the teachers and peers I was able to go through training with. I loved being able to explore movement with faith. See, I’m not a “traditional” Christian, and going to church hasn’t been part of my personal practice for awhile now. This yoga and faith thing helped me to connect with Creator in a more holistic way.

I ended teacher training with a desire to share this YogaFaith thing with others. It surprised me because this was not my original intent.

Initially, I explored teaching online. Hello introvert heaven! My goal in life is to figure out how to leave my house little as possible, so that route was very attractive to me. While working through the logistics of the online thing, I remembered there was a little studio space near me that allowed hourly rentals. On a whim, I decided to give them a call and visit.

The studio was warm & inviting while the owner was a bundle of positive energy. I suddenly found myself planning my first in-person YogaFaith session. I felt nervous, not ready, and wondered what the heck I was doing! I’ve come to realize however, that the best adventures are often ones we start when we’re not ready.

So I began. Teaching the friends and family I could drag out to the studio to be my guinea pigs. And it was fun! While I started to get little sprinkles of people I didn’t know, my classes remained small. Like “party of 1” small. What started out as a year with a goal of teaching 1 multi-week session to a small group of students, ended-up with me teaching 1 student most weeks.

While my first year teaching yoga looked nothing like I expected, I believe it turned out exactly as it was meant to. I learned several important lessons this year that I look forward to carrying with me into the new one.

Lesson 1: My favorite part of teaching was helping my students connect with themselves.

My primary teaching goal was to help students connect with themselves and Creator both on and off the mat. The asanas (postures) and meditations taught, were simply tools to help them do that. I truly geek-out on seeing individuals get to know themselves better. Of having that “aha” moment when something that had previously confused them becomes clear. Being able to see students learn, explore, and grow in their self-connection was truly a joy for me.

Lesson 2: It feels really good to slow down and connect with the breath.

I really enjoyed having the chance to slow down and connect with the breath during weekly classes. I often taught from the mat and used mainly verbal cues so would practice with my students. I often found myself running through the week, never taking enough time to just breathe. Teaching, created a weekly opportunity for me to increase awareness of and make breath a more regular part of my personal practice.

Lesson 3: I became more comfortable going “off script” during classes.

I prepared an agenda each week for class so that I would know what I was teaching. It created a security blanket of sorts that helped increase my confidence as a teacher. Towards the latter part of this year, I noticed myself becoming more comfortable going off script and “free-styling.” Basing lessons on what my students said they needed in that moment. As a person who is often thinking about the “next thing,” this helped me stay present-centered and hold space for my students.

Lesson 4: I enjoy teaching slower-paced foundational asanas.

I learned that my favorite way to teach is slower-paced foundational asanas. As much as I enjoy seeing Instagram pictures of the yoga teacher “Allstars” doing gravity defying postures; that’s just not me. My body has no desire or interest in moving that way. I leaned that I liked to let my students spend time in a posture. This helped them get more comfortable with their bodies in these shapes. To allow more time connecting with their breath. I learned that this way of moving and breathing is a great way to foster self-connection.

Lesson 5: The yoga practice is meant to be personalized.

I learned that the yoga practice is meant to be personalized. Each individual needs to figure out what works or doesn’t work for them. Giving that permission became a regular part of my teaching. To support this personalization I would share the following reminders with my students:

This is meant to be a pain-free practice.  If it hurts, don’t do it.  Listen to what your body does and doesn’t want today.  Even if I cue something and your body doesn’t want to move that way, then don’t.

These reminders — whether or not they are verbalized — are good lessons for all yoga classes and life in general.

Many of us have a difficult time listening to ourselves. We can get tricked by our internal critic that somehow what we think and feel isn’t valid. That who we are is less valuable than who someone else is. This just isn’t true.

Being able to spend time on the mat with my students. Being able to learn with them and from them has been such a joy for me this year. All of these are lessons I look forward to carrying with me into the new year.

I made the decision to end my weekly classes at the end of this session. While it has been a wonderful adventure to teach yoga this year, I’ve realized I need to shift my focus elsewhere. I am most passionate about emotional/mental health and creative work. Creator has shown me that this is the area of my biggest spiritual gift.

I’m excited to take the lessons I learned on the mat and channel them into helping others move into emotional and mental wellness through creative journal writing. I know that yoga and meditation will find its way into the work as I move forward. I’m excited to see what unfolds as the next chapter of this adventure begins.

For those who have come to a yoga class this year, I thank you for being my teachers. 

As we wrap-up 2018 I invite you to spend some time in reflection. Did you start something new this year? Maybe you started a new job, or new hobby, or like, me you started teaching yoga. Whatever it is, I invite you to pull out your journal and reflect on the following questions:

  • What were the 3 biggest lessons you learned from the new activity this year? 
  • What were the biggest challenges you faced doing the new activity this year? 
  • What is the most important lesson you’ll carry with you into the new year? 

Once you’ve reflected in your journals, I would love to hear what you discovered in the comments section below.

Thanks so much for stopping by to day!

Wishing you more peace and joy than your heart can hold and a very happy Holiday Season.


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