I am settling into my new schedule of early morning classes. Today I had the same group as Tuesday give or take a few new students. We worked on the hip actions of Parighasana and I related them to the hip work in Vrksasana. The students took well to the instructions. I remember laboring over these poses while preparing for my Intro I back in 2011. It is easy to do a pose like Vrksasana, but to learn how to teach it properly is very difficult.
My classes have been averaging about 10 students. There was a time when I don’t think I could have handled more than 10 students at once. But because of how the Iyengar system is logically laid out, it is easy to organize many more than 10 students if you have a good plan. The shape of the room is critical to where you place yourself as a teacher relative to how many students you have. If I have less than 6 students, I will teach in a different location in the room because I don’t want to seem too far away.
A new challenge for me as a teacher is to make each class unique even though we have the same clan of poses taught to the same students two days apart. My plan is to use the class earlier in the week to go over rudimentary actions of certain poses, and then use later class in the week to add refinements to those actions. That should keep things fresh and interesting for my students.
Another challenge for me is adjusting to the early morning teaching schedule. My wonderful wife is accustomed to waking up at 5 am and is a morning person. As I rouse from my umpteenth snooze, she joyfully helps me get through my morning routine. This week she gave me simple math problems to get my brain moving. I am grateful that she married me.
I wrote in my previous post that the many benefits one gets teaching Yoga are so unique that they are difficult to write about. I will try to highlight these benefits in future posts. The one benefit from this week is that there is farmers market at Manoa Marketplace on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And since my class is early, I have first pick of the fresh produce. Today I bought a Kaboucha pumpkin, slathered it in olive oil, and roasted it for dinner for my wife and I. It was delicious and caramel-ly. Since I’m sure all of your are tired of seeing the same version of the lithe Lululemon ambassador in the #namasteeverydamnday #bakasanadujour, I instead posted a picture of my beautiful roasted pumpkin.
I taught my first 7 am class today at Iyengar Yoga Honolulu to 10 enthusiastic students. It was nice to see familiar faces in the class. Even one of my Saturday students came. I had a hard time sleeping last night in anticipation of my inaugural class as first impressions are lasting. I also am not used to the early morning time and tend to slur my words when not fully awake. The class went to my satisfaction save a few slip ups due to my grogginess. It is “miscellaneous week” and I taught abdominal poses like Paripoona Navasana (complete boat pose).
As I was doing the billing after class, two new students entered the studio. They were there for the 8:15 class that was just taken off the studio’s schedule. I was offered the class, but could not do it because of my job. Today I scheduled myself to do paperwork which could be done out of the office.
One of the new students was the former CEO of my old employer that is now defunct. She got out of the company a few years before it started going downhill. She had brought her friend to try the studio. When two students show up and I have time, I can’t turn them away. So I gave them a free sampling of Iyengar Yoga.
Afterwards, as I was headed down the stairwell, one of the students shouted my name and rushed up the stairs with a bag. It was full of fruit from the downstairs farmers market! This was an auspicious way to start my new class.
I had written a post about teaching Yoga as not being a means of making one rich. I should have been more specific and stated that while it does not pay the bills, the ways in which it enriches your life is so profound and unexpected, that it is difficult to write about.
Teaching Yoga is perhaps one of the hardest jobs one can do if it is done properly. It is a combination of manual physical labor, hours of planning, on the spot awareness, accident prevention, and precise instruction just to name a few skills that are required. You will literally make pennies for hours of hard work. But if money is not how you measure wealth, you will find abundance when you teach yoga. Just like the cornucopia of fruit in the bag from my unexpected students.
The time has come where my teachers need me to take on another class at their yoga center. I believe that I am mature enough to take on the challenge. In many ways the new schedule which includes 7 am classes will streamline my day and allow me to spend more evenings with my wife.
I previously wrote the essay “Why I only teach two classes per week” in which I state that I purposefully don’t festoon my schedule teaching yoga to make time for my own practice. Most importantly, not having a teaching heavy schedule gives me time with my family and my profession of being a mental health case manager.
Unfortunately, I will forfeit my Friday evening class. I have dedicated students who come at such an unpopular time. It was nice teaching a small class. For one thing, we had time and space to work on more difficult asanas and utilize more of the studio’s props like the trestle and rope wall. Hopefully they continue with the other evening classes at the studio.
I am looking forward to the new classes. I have subbed the students on numerous occasions. They are an enthusiastic bunch who are relatively new to Yoga. I will start teaching the first week of December.