Last year I taught a lot of Yoga! So much so that by November I was rather tired, exhausted even. I found that I was way out of balance, working late to keep up with the workload, waking up early when our daughter Tula wakes up. The sleep deprivation was certainly not helping re-gain my vitality.
I felt that my regular classes on Waiheke were suffering somewhat from my tiredness.
I turned up to each class of course but often with only a vague idea of what I would teach. Part of this was actually useful and interesting … how do I teach when I’m under this amount of pressure? Can I improvise class after class?
It was in fact engaging simply to turn up to class and meet whoever walked through the classroom door, and create on-the-fly classes and sequences geared right to these students exactly as they were in that moment.
However, while it was interesting on this level, I feel it was unsustainable. And I wish to offer my regular long-term students more structure. To guide them to a deeper level of integration in their Yoga practice. And it felt unhealthy to continue to teach from a place of exhaustion!
How could I create more balance in my life?
First in place was to create more balance in my personal and work life so that I’m not so tired. This has meant committing to finishing work earlier in the evening, spending quality time with family, going to bed earlier and continuing to feed my practice with time and study.
With this foundation for my daily life in a better space, I have turned to work out how I could offer my students more depth this year. What has come up is this … to teach one major principle of Yoga practice every month. To follow through with this principle for every class within the month. This ideally will give students the opportunity to not just learn about this principle in one class, but to keep revisiting it, class after class – so that by the end of the month they will have had time to truly integrate a significant part of the principle.
In February we concentrated on Breathing – a vital ingredient of any valuable Yoga practice. In March we have focused on Yielding – the ability to actively give weight to the ground and be receptive to the rebound. To find the balance between using too much activity in one’s posture and too little. Next month in April we’ll be working with the Centre of the Body. And so on. Future months include The Fluid Body, Organ Support, Core Support, Spinal Integration, Restorative Yoga and much more!
The aim is that by the end of the year, students will have truly developed their skill at Yoga and have a deeper level of integration in their practice.
And for myself, this structure is proving to keep me well focused. And I’m fully enjoying it! I’m arriving at class with more energy and with some sweet ideas for the practice. Plus I’m loving the challenge of creating 12 classes on Yielding and still keeping it fresh!
How do you keep your practice or your teaching fresh? How is your year of Yoga going?
I hope to see you soon on the mat!