As Yoga teachers, we have to make lots of decisions as the class unfolds: Should I change the sequence or should I stick with the one I had planned? Should I go adjust a student or should I move on to the next posture? Should I say something or do I let silence speak for itself? Is now a good time to read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quote or would Pixie Lighthorse’s poem do more magic? Anyway, you know what I mean.
What I have come to realize is that even though we are not doing the physical Yoga practice while teaching, in a way, and a very powerful way that is, we are practicing. Keeping our mind focused in order to make these quick decisions constantly throughout class is a skill I have developed as a Yoga teacher.
This realization made me pay close attention to moments outside of class when I am also in that focused state. So, the other day when I was in the water surfing I recognized that there are a lot of similarities between surfing and teaching Yoga. For instance, you never know what to expect. The ocean is unpredictable and each wave, like each class, is different. Also, you never really know who else will be out there surfing, just like you never know which students will be coming to your class. And, most importantly, you have to make fast decisions on the go.
In big wave surfing, you see a wave building up on the horizon and you have to decide to go or not to go. Then, if you decide to go, you have to rise above fear and actually paddle hard for it. Finally, once you’re on the wave, just like in class, you have to read the wave and make decisions. This is all very fast and surfers must be fully focused in order not to wipeout. Just like Yoga teachers.
But, somewhere in the middle of surfing a wave or teaching a Yoga class, there is effortlessness. Those moments when you remain fully focused but stop thinking. Those moments when things just flow and you are still making decisions but based purely on gut feeling.
As Yoga teachers, we must remember to let ourselves be at ease. Those effortless moments when we align with the flow are beautiful and powerful. They are the sure sign that we’ve let go of control and are fully trusting our intuition. And, we can’t go wrong doing that.
Photo credit: Janine Costa