The Facilitator

I have one week until the final retreat for my teacher training. I’m done with the two required papers (“What the Eight-limb Path Means to Me” and “Why I Want to Teach Power Vinyasa Yoga“), I’m recording me teaching a 60-minute class in my living room on Monday, and will only need to critique it, submit the package to the studio and wait for my certificate to be RYT-200. So close I can taste it.

I shared my experience from teaching on Sunday with one of my teachers and she asked me how much I want to teach. I drew a blank – I think I’ve been focusing so much on this process, reaching this marker snuck up on me.

Part of our training has been a mandatory, assigned Seva project that has been a real challenge. A woman who graduated in the class before us works with a local nonprofit that helps at-risk-youth (18-25) turn their lives around. I’m pretty sure that most of them live in my old neighborhood, which most people in this town have never even driven through and only hear about on the news. It’s a part of town where, literally (as in this actually happened to me) the cops call to ask for directions to gun shots or a 911 call gets the City Police who tell you to call the Sheriff who tell you to call the City Police. She incorporated yoga into the PE curriculum and we were tasked to support it.

I won’t get into it, but I summed up the lesson we learned from the experience in this sentence: We must ask, over and over, what can we give rather than tell, over and over, here is what we’re going to give you. Through donation classes and peer fundraising, we raised a lot of money to give to the organization to support what they need. One thing the kids really wanted was a field trip to a yoga studio, so this ended up including covering the cost for 16 kids to attend a class and get the introductory $10 for 10 days of unlimited yoga.

This morning, 16 kids came on a van to the studio for a 9:30 class. I gave up my spot in the room and assisted the class. It was SO worth it. They were really honest with their practice. They got restless – they left the room, they talked, they exclaimed “It’s HOT in here!”, a lot of them rested (especially when they saw resting people getting little back massages). I gave a lot of assists to relieve lower back pain I usually see on older adults. They rested, they went for it, they laughed and had fun. I learned so much from them today. The students rocked it! This is what a yoga community is all about – it IS for everyone, not just the lulus.

Post-class smiles

I realized, in the shower at home where the best ideas come and go, that everything I’ve done and everything that drives me is about facilitating experiences. I did this as a musician, delivering challenging and comforting experience to audiences. Managing the audience services department of a large theatre, I work with my staff to create comfortable and safe spaces for people to experience performances and events. When I handle artists, I manage their schedule and access to ensure they have space to perform to the best of their ability for the audience. When I assist in a yoga class, I help students feel comfortable and go deeper into their practice.

When I teach yoga, I can create a safe place for each student to be themselves as they work up the courage, class by class, to let their true nature out to play and spill off their mat into the rest of their lives. Facilitation.

So my revised answer to my teacher is, yes, I want to teach. I want to teach so I can keep learning. Start with one or two regular classes – go from there. Giving myself permission to keep teaching or not. I want to continue this lifelong work I seem to have found my way into facilitating experiences and see where it takes me.

The further on this path I go, the more I realize I’ve been on it the whole time.

UNDESTRUCTABLE!

This is my life and freedom is my profession
This is my mission throughout all flight duration
There is a core and it’s hardcore
All is hardcore when made with love
Love is a voice of a savage soul
This savage love is
Undestructable!!!!

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