Teaching My First Full Class

Sunday November 24th was the big day, the day when I got to teach a full class with fellow teacher trainees present as well as my invited guests – AND got critiqued for my teaching!

I was nervous, but I wasn’t, but I was.  I was so anxious to complete the teaching and officially have taught the class and get feedback on how I did, that there were some nerves shining through.  I think it some of it came from not speaking smoothly while I was also moving through the poses.  Another part came from last minute changes that I thought about too much.  While I had invited everyone on Facebook, I’d also issued a few direct invitations.  I was expecting 4 friends to attend, but one didn’t end up confirming and another cancelled at the last minute.  One who was a definite was 8 months pregnant.

We didn’t spend much time in any of the classes discussing how to modify poses for pregnancy, but did talk about some poses that should be avoided.  My originally planned sequence had a lot of abdominal work and backbends – that should mostly be avoided or at least minimized.  So knowing that I was going to have a small class and Nikki assisting, but that I couldn’t spend my whole time focused on the mama-to-be, I decided to modify my sequence.  I didn’t write down my changes, I didn’t practice them, I just thought about it them in my head.

As the class progressed and my entire opening was different than planned, I realized that despite removing back bends, I was running out of time with my new sequence.  I managed to end up balanced on both sides and still get in three of the planned yin poses in my closing section.  I also changed my music because my original playlist was maybe to upbeat with the changes that I made to the sequence, which ended up making a very mellow practice.  The music was critiqued by different people in different ways, one current teacher thought it was perfect for the class, another that it would be great for yin or an evening flow class, but too mellow for a morning gentle class where you want to get people revved up for their day.

Important things that I learned: I was quite comfortable getting off the mat and walking around the room.  It made me feel more connected to the students, whereas on my mat, I felt a little bit removed from the class and that some students weren’t in my line of sight.  I also learned that I can modify on the fly and maintain a balanced, flowing sequence.  I also have plenty of room to focus on the detail cues and breath as well.  With just a week of practicing the specific sequence and teaching it twice (3 times if you count the final, heavily modified version), I can see great improvements.

And most importantly – I am VERY ready to start teaching regularly!

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