I’m a yoga instructor. It’s what I’ve been calling myself since I was given my own time slot, my own class description on a web page, my own class and my own place to take up space.
I was trained at an Ashtanga-inspired studio in a very traditional fashion. I am the teacher. I’m there to teach students the poses, where to put their hands, their feet, and tell them when to breathe. For 75 minutes, I tell them what to do and how to do it, and they listen.
It wasn’t until I began teaching at a modern-inspired studio that I learned another perspective of being a yoga instructor. It was there that I started hearing the word “leading.” “Would you like to lead this class?” “Can someone lead Thursday at 6:00am?” I was taken aback and slightly offended. I didn’t spend the time, money, and effort on teacher training to lead a class. I’m teaching them how to practice yoga asana.
But the more I taught and the longer I taught, the better I understood. Yes, I explain alignment and remind them to breathe, but it’s their practice. They are there to listen to their bodies, to listen to their breath, to still their mind. I am there to simply guide, suggest, offer.
It is an honor for a student to allow me to guide their practice. Right now, leading feels right.