Friday, August 29, 2008

labor days

I've been teaching doubles for the past two days, and tomorrow I teach again. I do believe it was the right thing to do post-vacation. I needed to reconnect with my students and with my own self as a teacher. It puts a damper on practicing, but whatever.

I also taught my first official private class yesterday morning. Today we practiced again. We have a woman who travels to our studio once a year for an extended "vacation" because she loves our space so much. I don't know if I should state her name here in my blog. I have no illusions about having a huge audience, but again, this is a public space. I will say that she was born with serious medical issues that affected her entire life. Unlike many students of yoga, she's starting from yards behind the blocks, if you can pick up what I'm putting down. Yet she does not let that influence her outlook. She has a profound love for yoga, as it has given her greater health benefits than any surgical procedure. She's willing to put so much of herself into her practice. When she is in my class, it changes how I perceive my students. I won't lie. When I see one of my regulars, a burly outdoorsman who fidgets and breathes loudly and basically distracts, in class with this woman, I have to use every ounce of my own strength to keep from yelling, "BIG GUY! Quitcher bellyachin'! If that little lady can do locust without all that fuss, so can you!"


I appreciated her willingness to let novice teacher me lead her in a private class. Since she's lived her entire life advocating for her own health, she had no qualms about telling me what to do. And I loved it! Really. How fortunate I am to have a student so willing to let me learn, and pay me for it. She wants teachers who are willing to work with her, to adjust her and allow her body to develop the muscle memory it needs to simply do what the rest of us take for granted. I honestly felt blessed to work with her.

Also, working with a body that could, in some respects, withstand so much manipulation let me learn some more about what the yoga does overall and in individual postures. I feel more confident about adjustments and corrections I'll make in my regular classes.

Other teachin' stories: I also got to teach one of the greatest newbs ever. He's actually a bit of a legend at our studio, as he called us several times a day trying to get all the details he'd need to practice with us. His voicemail messages prepared us for him, for sure. He'd taken a few classes with us before I got to teach him, though I personally experienced him as I practiced only once. Dude is a motherfuckin' trip. He came to our studio, claiming he'd practiced Bikram before. But Dude had no idea. Apparently he'd practiced with someone claiming to be a Bikram instructor... who taught an hourlong class, with music and no heat. Dude (I will call him "Dude" from here on out. Why not?!) had no idea about our pranayama. Still doesn't. I almost want to film him practicing, 'cause it's out of this world. Cruel and un-yoga-like, I know. I should be sympathetic, because hell... we all have our first classes and what-not. But Dude is seriously on some next shit. I just wish I had words to describe him.

He is also a mega-talker. Shoulda figured that out from the legion of voicemails. It makes for an interesting front desk experience. When I taught he asked me why our studio doesn't play music during class. I gave him the Bikram line, to which he responds, "Well, what if I brought in my own music? Like, with headphones?"

How does a yoga teacher respond to that question?! For reals! Next shit!

I tried to explain the need for the dialogue, especially in a Bikram beginning class. Dude says, "Well, once I figure out all the postures I can just do the class on my own." Not in a dismissive way, at all; more like: "I can come in a do the yoga on my own time with everyone else!" ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I'm thinkin': why you comin' here and spendin' money then, Dude?

It is hard not to laugh. Again: so uncouth and I am sure the spirit of Krishnamacharya wants to poop on my head (at the very least). But I swear on Buddha's baby toes, the laughter comes from a place of love. I am genuinely tickled to experience Dude in my class and at the studio. Such unabashed self-confidence in the face of the crazy Bikram beginning series inspires awe and happiness.

Enough of this hippie-love bullpucky for tonight.

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