When I first started teaching I basically taught Yummy Yoga. I did anything I could to keep my classes and students inside the comfort zone. I didn’t make them chant, I didn’t focus on the breath, I didn’t offer extended relaxations. Basically I taught stretching with a little strength thrown in. People liked it. I liked it. But truth be told – none of us grew. I didn’t grow as a teacher and while my students were safe and secure they didn’t really transform either.
My students now would be hard pressed to find the “me” they know in my first years teaching. Now I push myself to teach what is difficult for me.
Make people hug each other? Let that love OUT.
Chant for a fifteen minutes with arms in the air? Watch those limiting thoughts just melt away.
Ten minute guided relaxation at the beginning? The type A’s hate that until one day they LOVE it.
So what changed? Why the shift? The reason is simple, I just realized through my own practice that it was when I made myself uncomfortable, when I pushed the edges of not just my practice but my beliefs that I really and truly started to transform. As with all my work, I base my interactions with my students, on my own experiential understandings. If being uncomfortable and doing it anyway transformed me – chances are it would transform them.
With that said, I must admit: I still turn to my comfort zone when I am over stressed and under-slept. During those times I melt myself back into the safety of a Yummy Yoga practice and if I happen to be teaching that day, my students get one too.