A little more than 10 years ago, I was teaching my very first official group class. Above is a picture of the sequence I wrote for that class.
I was terrified!!
Mainly I was terrified of failing and ultimately terrified of rejection. What if they don’t like me, what if they don’t understand my accent, what if my form is poor, what if I forget some instructions, what if I don’t know how to help the student to deal with her/his limitations or injury… ? The list could go on.
The interesting thing is that all these fears were purely based on me. ME, not being able or not being enough. I remember a great advice my husband gave me: “you are there to make your students feel good and to help them; focus on that and you can’t go wrong”. Of course, at the time, it was easier said than done for someone who has tried to be discreet her whole life but that is such an important piece of advice. For Yoga is all about sharing, about union and integration.
Fast forward 10 years: the terror has gone (thanks God!) even though I still get nervous sometimes, especially when starting a new project, but today I learned to appreciate that feeling because as a friend of mine told me once: “your are nervous because you care about your students”. And that is very true, I care a lot about my teaching and my students. I love what I do.
When I started practicing Yoga in 2002 in NYC, I was immediately attracted by the physical aspect of the practice. Then, my husband and I travelled for 8 months in South-East Asia in 2003/2004 and we stopped for a few weeks in an Ashram in Rishikesh, India. The teachers were amazing!! I totally fell in love with the practice. I understood then that Yoga was so much more than the physical practice. I was blessed to be introduced to meditation, pranayama, kriyas and chanting by the most spiritual person I know. And this totally blew my mind. Such an ancient philosophy and the yogis had already figured out and understood everything about life. In contrast, in our so-called modern societies we seem to drift further away from these crucial teachings; some of us feeling disconnected and burnt out. It was such a revelation for me to find a practice, a discipline, a philosophy that was so holistic.
I didn’t want to teach at the time but I went back there the next year to do a teacher training for I had that profound desire to know more, to understand more.
One teacher training in India and two teacher trainings in NYC later, I still had no desire to teach but my thirst of learning was deeply satisfied.
One day, I eventually said yes to a teaching opportunity after refusing a few and I never stopped teaching ever since!
My practice has evolved over the years. I’ve never been a competitive person so although the more challenging poses were seducing me and were fun to practice, I was also ok with the fact of not being able to do everything.
In addition, I quickly realized that I had some physical limitations due to my scoliosis and after ignoring the signals my body was sending me for a while (because of a lack of knowledge of my own condition and the teachers I was practicing with not being trained in scoliosis), I ended up making things worst and feeling some pain. Until I found that wonderful yoga studio: Yoga Union which specialized in back care and scoliosis. There, I learned about my condition and how to take care of myself.
Since then, my physical practice is a more respectful practice towards my body. I know my limitations. I’m not doing yoga to impress or to get “likes” on social media, I’m doing yoga because it feeds my body and my soul. I’m interested in turning my awareness inwardly, in listening. Maybe, as I’m getting older, I’m becoming more cautious. Maybe not, but what truly interests me is the connection between the mind and the body. Today my meditation practice is as important or even more sacred to me than my physical practice.
The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is because, everything is impermanent in life. Everything. The bad, the good, the painful, the pleasurable…
My practice has changed over the years and it will keep changing.
We have to embrace this impermanence to feel more at ease in our life otherwise we get too attached and pain arises. This is one of the greatest teachings of the philosophy of yoga.
Life flows, death happens, the seasons changes, joys and sorrows come and go…
That is exactly the reason why life is so beautiful and precious because it’s fragile and ephemeral.