Art of Teaching – Some Reflection on Starting Out

What does it mean to teach yoga? For me, the decision to take up teacher training came when I realized I had wandered far enough into the woods to point out what a tree looks like (groaning allowed here), but not yet far enough that I could confidently find all the floras and faunas, and describe to someone the lay of the land.

After finishing my 200-hour teacher training, I wondered if I should start teach yoga right away. I had a solid training and was well prepared. Yet, seeing how vast this field is, and how much more I still had to learn, I doubted if I was truly ready.

Despite my doubt, I decided to step on the mat in the teaching seat. I had been teaching gentle yoga at work during lunch. A coworker who was fairly overweight came, and sent me an really touching message afterwards. “I didn’t think I could do yoga because of my size, she said. I never would have done it if you weren’t teaching here. I feel much better now, and thank you so very much for showing me that I can do it.” Tears spontaneously came down on my cheeks, and I just knew that no matter how crappy the rest of the day might turn out to be, I could not feel more rewarded.

I realized that, perhaps I didn’t need to save the world in one day. If I could just touch one person’s life and ease their pain in some small way, then that was my contribution to the world. That was all I needed.

Currently in my 500-hour training, and continuing to drain my retirement funds for even more yoga workshops and training, I’ve realized that there is no such thing as the end. The learning keeps going and going. I recently confessed (with a certain trepidation) to my teacher Judith that I feel less confident to teach now than before I was ever certified. “That gives me hope,” she said, “that you will keep learning, and that you will keep your students safe by not teaching what you don’t know. The danger is when you think you know everything.”

A certificate is the certificate to begin your studies – Judith Lasater