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Teaching from the heart puts it at risk of being broken

I teach because I Can

I became a yoga teacher so I could deepen my own practice as well as be a part of helping others develop theirs. I know how the benefits of yoga and wellness has done for me, and I’m delighted to be able to offer that knowledge to others. Plus, I get to try out new poses I learned in other classes and teach them to my classes. I practice a lot, so I get to learn new ways of teaching and apply those or the exact opposite if I don’t connect with that style. I get to meet new people and pick up on their energy, provide them a space to escape.

Torcher Chamber takes Flight

When I started practicing yoga, it was in what was referred to as “Bikram’s Torture Chamber”, a room with 105 degree heat and 60 percent humidity for 90 minutes. Torture chamber was a pretty accurate description, and I was a glutton for it and would enter it daily. I remember I used to think of the room as an airplane and once the door shut and the teacher was on the podium, I imagined it was the cabin door closing and I couldn’t get off the plane for 90 minutes. Which also meant, nothing could get in. Those worries, stresses, wonderings of what ifs and why nots were also locked out as I was locked in, because there was nothing I could do about them at that moment. I had committed to taking a class.

When I teach, I sometimes refer to this analogy. Like I’m the pilot taking off. My hope is that the students will turn off their phones, well really that they would not bring it into the room at all, but we all know that is somewhat an impossible ask for some people. I commit to taking them on their journey safely. I commit to providing a ride that is both fulfilling as well as rewarding. I commit to the students.

There are days when I have to break my commitment. We are all human, things come up, and opportunities to travel arise, or someone from out of town may be in for a visit. And as the pilot, err, teacher, I want to make sure they can still take flight, with someone else. I find a substitute, I warn them ahead of time, I commit to letting them make arrangements and get prepared for this new route.

Committing is the Hardest Part of the Job

As a student, I commit to certain teachers, certain classes, certain studios or gyms. I develop a relationship with them, or at least a regular presence in their class. I make an unspoken promise to show up and be a part of that what they have developed. And there are times when life happens and I have to move to something else, somewhere else, someone else. I make it a point to let them know I am leaving and why. Maybe we have become friends, or maybe we have just become comfortably familiar with each other. Either way, I want them to know it’s not them, it is where my life direction is pointing. I make the same commitment as a student as I do as a teacher.

As a teacher, I have had students come and go. I have had students invite me into their lives and homes and I have had students envelop me into their world. I have had students of which our journeys don’t quite meet up and some who come and go when the wind blows them in my direction. I have had some disappear without a trace but with wonder. Was it my class? Did they move? Are they okay?

Becoming Unattached

One of the main practices of yoga is non-attachment, and oh dear, what a hard practice that can be. I do get attached as a teacher. To their smiles, their journeys, their laughter, their tears, their openness, their unwillingness and then their breakthroughs. I get attached to seeing it all and being a part of it. But sometimes, the attachment is anything but fulfilling, it can be overwhelming, full of pressure, sad, disappointing, even too much.

Can you relate to this? Can you, as a fitness teacher, be it Yoga, Bootcamp, Zumba, HIIT, Pilates, whatever it may be, can you see yourself in this similar situation? That you love to commit to your classes, that your heart has been broken by them, and that your pain has been mended by them too. That’s what I love about the concept of EvConFITNESS as a teacher, not having to get attached to anyone else. Not risking being hurt by the non-goodbye or the pressure to perform as good as the class before. Do we strive to perform at our best for them and for us? Yes! However, the stress to meet our collective anticipated expectations from last week can sometimes be too much pressure we put on ourselves. However, one time commitment classes, walking away without being a part of their story, only an additional guide on their journey? Think about that as an opportunity and the chance make the connection to their wellness, but not having to risk attachment.


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