Just chill? The story of your yoga class, from a teacher’s perspective:
I sit on the train, on my way to work. On the back of a sticky-note I write “heart openers, reverse tabletop, let yourself be still for once.” It may seem futile, but without these few words, I’m proven to be scattered and uncertain.
I arrive and take off my shoes, giving the standard talk about the availability of child’s pose and injuries. I sit for a moment, reflecting your wide eyes and anticipation. I realize that I am the one who needs to act. Let’s get started.
Watching the class in downward facing dog, I can feel the stretch in my own legs even though I stand in the middle of the room. I can’t help but smile as I lead you all through a Sun Salutation, and I encourage you to smile as well. It is incredible to have the attention of 30 students as they stand in mountain pose. I talk too much, reveling in front of everyone. I sit on a block for a moment to breathe deeply with you before jumping up, overwhelmed by the excitement of the moment. That one time you smile on your own (was it an accident?) literally makes my day because it seems like you’re enjoying yoga the same way I get to. I see you wobble in crescent lunge but look the other way. I see you peeking at me while you’re in child’s pose again, but I’m not judging you, don’t worry. I watch your feet, not your shirt that rides up. I listen for your giggles and your exhales, not your mat or body squeaking.
I can see you fidgeting in half pigeon and it’s incredible to feel the energy in the room when you finally settle. It takes every ounce of my self-control to stay silent and allow you to have this moment.
I talk you into Savasana, and give a few tips for full relaxation. I walk to each corner of the room to breathe deeply, so you can hear. I turn the music off along with the lights, and maybe I sit on a block at the back of the room. Perhaps I meditate for the few minutes, or maybe I continue to stand and breathe audibly, hoping that I’m spreading the calmness of my breath over everyone. On occasion, if I have inexplicable energy left, I put a mat up to the wall and wait in headstand, in the dark. When you all finish adjusting and moving and breathing laboredly, I wait for a few more breaths. Bring awareness back to your body and life back into the room. Sit up tall. Together we inhale, and exhale.