Confessions of a Yoga Teacher
Confessions of a yoga teacher is a series I write on my own experiences as a yoga teacher and student. Some are light hearted, some are more serious.
Recently, I posted about our upcoming Namaslay Miami Yoga Retreat, and I wanted to mention that in the newsletter. About twenty minutes after sending out our newsletter, we received the following email.
I was clicking through our Yoga Forum last night when I came across this great thread that discussed what people would say to their yoga teacher if given the opportunity. Now, to be honest, I think people always have the opportunity to speak their mind about classes (believe me, people in the past have done it to me), but I also understand feeling uncomfortable speaking your truth to your teacher.
As of today, April 8, 2016, there are just under 90,000 subscribers to the YBC Yoga YouTube Channel. With so many subscribers, you can imagine how many comments the channel gets. I pride myself in answering as many as I can. Sometimes the comments are funny ("Push-up party?! Worst party ever!"), and sometimes they're heartwarming ("I have a major social anxiety disorder and through doing your videos, my anxiety has decreased significantly"). Sometimes they're mean ("WTF THIS SUCKS, YOU'RE TERRIBLE, THIS ISN'T YOGA") and sometimes they're weird ("I wonder what you smell like"). But the number one thing that is said? It is some variation of:
I had this incredible English teacher who once told me I wasn't as dumb as I look.
That sounds like a real jackass thing to say, but I guess you had to know him to really understand that he said it with kind intentions. He had this very wry sense of humor, and I knew his words were underscored with affection.
I love yoga. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have made it such a huge presence in my life. But there are certain styles I love more than others. Yin? It's up there. Power? Just under yin. But my absolute fave? The type with no mat and lots of creative sequencing.
When I practice this type of yoga, it's always on my own. I've tried to teach it but it's hard because it's pretty advanced and people get really confused when I turn them facing away from the front of the room. I go into it never really knowing what will happen, use my breath as the soundtrack, and just roll with whatever happens. Here are a few of my most recent practices. I've broken them down in the text below each video in case you wanted to play with it on your own.
PSA: Four quick things: 1) Our Costa Rica Jungle Retreat is filling up! We'd love to have you join us! 2) If you're interested in participating in a live chat on the yoga forum, let us know! 3) Our holiday YBC Mantra Box is available for pre-sale, and we now offer YBC Grab Bags for my peeps on a budget. 4) If you've downloaded our YBC Official App and reviewed it, send a screenshot to @ybc_lauren on twitter and we'll send you a little gift in thanks!
Confessions of a yoga teacher is a series on YBC where I write about my own experiences as a teacher and student.
Last month, I went to a heated power yoga class at a local studio because #studentfirst. I go to class as a complement to both my personal practice and my continuing education as a teacher. It's nice to see what and how other teachers are teaching, and it's nice to be a student in a class and experience the flow from that perspective.
Confession: I used to be pretty insecure about my legs. I'm really short (barely 5'1'') so I always felt like cellulite was more noticeable on my short and stubby legs, and therefore never liked to wear shorts or knee-length leggings because I thought 7/8 leggings or full leggings were more flattering. The only time I would ever really wear shorts was to Bikram yoga because let's be honest, everyone in the room is approximately this close to death and I knew no one had the energy to even glance my way, never mind see my silly insecurities.
Taking a break from our Confessions of a Yoga Teacher series, we're exploring yoga student confessions today with Lauren. She's behind this guest post spilling the beans on what she's really thinking during yoga class. We also asked the YBCers over on the Yoga Forum for their confessions and included them below. Hope you'll share yours!! xo Candace
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have priorities when it comes to yoga – lots of them actually. My first priority is not to die (especially when it comes to hot yoga, woof), my second priority is to not embarrass myself entirely (I’m smart enough to know I’ll probably embarrass myself a little bit and I’m totally okay with that) and the third could be a tie between remembering to avoid lululemons leggings (which are not downward dog friendly #pantyshow) and to quiet the mind.
One of these days I’m going to sit down a write a behind the scenes post just to fill you in on what’s going on here at YBC. Things are ca-razy, as you might’ve guessed from recent instagram posts like this, this, and this. I am definitely feeling stressed but also really excited about the incredible opportunities and projects we have going on.
One of them - and this is just an idea, not set in stone yet - is the possibility to open up a yoga studio. I’m working with a commercial real estate agent to check out the surrounding areas and see if there’s a space I like, and as I explore this idea, I've been asking people what makes or breaks a studio in their opinion. And the responses blew my mind.
At the end of April, I went into New York for the Yoga Journal conference, and as I was walking back to my hotel, arms filled with swag from a PR meet and greet, and high off an awesome workshop with Kathryn Budig, I stepped off the curb on 5th Ave during rush hour and rolled my ankle. My foot was still on the curb and my ankle was on the road, if you need a good visual. I continued to try to cross the street but I couldn't put any weight on my foot and I had to hobble back to the curb. In tears, I sat down and tried to figure out what to do next. A lovely little woman saw the whole thing happen and helped me get a cab (she literally stood on the curb for a solid fifteen to twenty minutes waiting for a free cab). I was in such pain and I was panicking. Not only did this injury mean I couldn't finish out my weekend in New York, but I had three retreats lined up beginning in just over a week. Oh, and the retreats were in Europe and traveling on my own while injured? Yeah, it was safe to say I was sort of losing it.
The Spring 2015 yoga retreats are starting to fill up! Grab a friend and reserve your spot now!
For some people, the joy of a pose emerges when the traditional, full expression of the pose is realized. The best part for these people is when they're 100% perpendicular to the ground in handstand, or when they're in the textbook perfect split.
For a while, I was the same. It didn't matter how I got there, just get me in the pose, you know? Hurry up and get there!
Before my retreat in November, it had been something like eight years since I had been back to Costa Rica. The last time I was there the roads were a disaster. I mean pot holes everywhere. And not just pot holes, but, like, POT. HOLES. Cell phone service was pretty much nonexistent, and you could forget about wifi. Despite the infrastructure issues and spotty cell service, the country always had a special place in my heart due to having participated in a foreign exchange program there when I was sixteen. The family I lived with and the friends I made there had such an impact on me and to this day I am in touch with them. The country feels like my second home, and I had desperately wanted to book a retreat there but I was scared.
Confessions of a yoga teacher is a series about my experiences as an instructor. Sometimes the posts are funny, sometimes they're more serious. The idea is to spark conversation about teaching yoga within the yoga community here in the comments below or on the YBC Yoga Forum. Please feel free to share your experiences!
A few weeks ago I attended the Yoga Journal Conference in Miami, where I took a class by Eric Paskel, an unorthodox yoga instructor who taught a class called Yoga Rocks: The Doors, a loud, in your face, kick your asana kind of class. The sequencing was pretty basic, the music was pretty great (if you like The Doors), and the attitude of the teacher was refreshing (he may or may not have asked us to go from warrior 2 to reverse warrior 2 with the middle finger raised at all the fears and self doubts we had). It was a class filled with laughs and dance moves, and yeah, it was a little cheesy at parts, but it was also inspiring.
I love my job. I love the people I meet, and the creative process of choreographing a sequence to a playlist. I love researching ways to help, and figuring out how I can weave that knowledge into my classes. I love reading the class energy and making changes on the fly. And I love when I get a new student.
They're often timid, a little nervous, and generally will place their mat closest to the door or as far back into the corner of the room as they can. Sometimes they'll even approach me before class and say, "I've really never taken yoga before, and I'm not even sure I'll get through the class."
You know what I say to that?
"I don't care."
You know those rockstar yogis? The superstar ones from instagram who have, like, a million and a half followers? I always go to one of their workshops if they're coming my way because I honestly feel that everyone has something unique to share. Everyone knows something that I don't know, so if there's an opportunity to learn, I should.