A confession: Sometimes, I'll be teaching a class and have no idea how to read the students- particularly if there are a lot of students I don't know or if I'm a guest teacher. We'll sit down at the beginning of class and take a few deep breaths while the deafening silence blankets us.
Usually I'm completely wrapped up in what I'd planned to say for the centering. But every once in a while, a voice will pop up.
Are they bored out of their minds? Is this not what they need to hear? Should I say something different? Is the pace of the class too fast? Too slow?
If I'm not careful to pump the brakes on these thoughts and focus on what I'm doing, it'll completely overtake me. I try to stay calm and tell myself I'll simply ask them when I get a chance. We'll end a sun salutation and I'll look at them and say, "How are you doing?"
Crickets. Blank stares.
They hate me. They want to leave. They- SHUT UP, I'll tell myself, and cue the next pose. After I start the next part of the sequence the little voice in my head dies down. But by the end of the class, when they're all in savasana I sometimes start to wonder all over again how they feel.
Why do I do this? Well, when I was a school teacher we were taught to constantly evaluate ourselves. How did the class plans go? What worked, what didn't, where is the room for improvement? I guess I do the same thing in my yoga teaching.
And being a yoga student myself, who has experienced classes by fantastic instructors, I know what a good class feels like. As a teacher, I want to deliver that kind of class. A class that makes them get lost in their breath, that gently loosens the kinks in their muscles, that releases their stress, that builds upon their strengths and challenges their weaknesses, that ends in savasana with a buzz pumping through their veins, and ultimately, a class that nourishes them, centers them, and leaves them feeling so, so good.
As I sit here writing, sifting through this, I know logically that:
1. You can't please everyone.
2. The type of class that I love isn't the be-all and end-all of yoga classes.
3. Whether they're bored or not, love or hate my class, it shouldn't matter because these things are related to my ego...right? Or are they related to me simply wanting to be the best instructor I can be? Or both? Or neither?
Or is it just not that serious and I need to relax?
Inevitably, when I have one of these classes where a little voice in my head is second guessing my teaching, someone will approach me after class and say, "Thank you, that was just what I needed."
Oh. So maybe I was worrying for nothing.
PS- Another yoga teacher confession.