Being back in the studio and outside with actual humans the last few weeks has been so fulfilling. Even though I’ve been craving in-person yoga, I forgot how good it actually feels to connect with students in real life and see faces that I haven’t seen in months! The studios I’ve been at have been so good about taking precautions, and I’m really glad I decided to go back in.
Despite my excitement, it was still nerve wracking to get back up in front of a group! When you teach online, most people are muted and don’t have their video on, so you can’t see their reactions or hear their breathing. It can literally be like you’re just doing yoga alone in your living room! Switch gears to teaching in person, and sometimes you’re looking out into a crowd of blank stares. You have no idea what anyone is thinking, and your own mind starts making assumptions. “Oh my god, she’s so bored. He hates my class. I should have made this sequence more challenging. I should have done fewer chaturangas.” The good thing about gaining experience is that I’ve learned to kick it up or take it down a notch if I get the sense that what I prepared isn’t matching the energy in the room.
The one thing that I may always struggle to overcome, however, is the negativity bias we’re wired with as humans. I could have 99 smiling faces in front of me, but I’m likely to fixate on the one person frowning. We all experience it. You know the saying about never making the same mistake twice? Alongside that one mistake, you may have done 500 things right, but what you’re going to remember is that one thing you did wrong. It’s in our nature to dwell on the negative, so sometimes the best thing to do is just put on your blinders and keep on trucking.
The truth is, I’m not going to be everyone’s teacher, and that’s ok! I have students that love my classes, and I have others that have come once never to be seen again. The funny thing about that one person frowning in the room, though, is that sometimes they come up to me after class telling me how much they loved it! It was just my own inner mean girl popping up again to throw me off my game. I’m still finding my voice as a teacher, but I’ve tried to stay true to myself and my own style, even as my classes have evolved. I think that’s the key – speaking your own truth, even if it doesn’t resonate with everyone. Even Beyonce’s got haters, y’all!
One of the hardest parts about life can be trusting our own gut. Whenever we question anything, we look outside ourselves for answers. We seek the opinions of friends, family, celebrities, strangers via Google, but what makes any other opinion more valid than your own? We immediately reach for external validation when really we’ve got all the answers we need. You are the only person intimately familiar with your own circumstances If we just take the time to sit with our own questions, turn them over while we go for a walk, take a long drive or just sit in silence, we will ultimately find the answers we’re looking for. How often do we take someone else’s advice and then think “I should have trusted my gut” when it goes terribly wrong? Our intuition is strong, and we’ve just got to learn to trust it.
When you’re true to yourself, your light will radiate. Dig deep and ask yourself what feels right, and let your own instinct be your guide. You will never be able to please everyone, but your people will be drawn to you. Keep surrounding yourself with those people. Even if you can’t turn that one frown upside down, you will have 99 other happy faces in your corner.