Today officially marks my 10 year anniversary of teaching yoga! Reflecting on my journey as a yoga student and yoga teacher, it’s mind-blowing to think of where I started and how I have grown to where I am today.
I received my teaching certification from Cloud Nine Yoga from Erika Faith Calig (then Hattingh) from her home studio in Gardena December 2004 with no clue that I would eventually teach the same classes at California State University, Fullerton where she had originally taught me yoga. I didn’t think I was ready to teach. I was scared about sequencing and more concerned with making my playlists fit a certain time length on a CD. iPods were not as common place and studios weren’t as equipped to play from them as they were CDs. Maybe a week after I received my certification I got a phone call from Juli Stockstill from The Yoga Room (then) in Anaheim Hills. I was in Target shopping for mixing bowls and literally choked on my own spit when I answered the call. I’m still trying to master this task of answering the phone without choking. Juli was looking for an instructor for her Monday night 6pm Level 2/3 class at her studio and apparently I had come highly recommended by Erika. I politely declined and stated that I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t even do crow pose let alone teach an intermediate level class and I needed more time to practice teaching. Juli didn’t like my answer and in the way that only Juli can, she convinced me that I would be perfect for the level 2/3 class.
On Monday, January 3pm, 2005, I taught the hardest class I knew how to teach. Standing poses and backbends and corework in attempt to mask the fact that I had no clue what I was doing or how to teach intermediate level postures. What kept me going was the thought that I had something to share. I had gone through a training, learned lots of fun yoga tricks and maybe could show the students something they hadn’t considered or tried before. I was only 23 years old teaching yoga to men and women maybe 20 or 30 years my senior. Who was I to teach them about life or spirituality? I wasn’t sure of myself at that point to be able to incorporate that into my teachings but I did know something about teaching yoga postures and breathwork. I finished the class with an essential oil I had received for Christmas (thanks Mom!) and gave each person a corpse pose adjustment. At the end of class, Juli came up and told me she loved the class and was so relaxed she fell asleep. I was on the schedule the next week. It was maybe a month or two before I add my 2nd weekly class.
Since that day, I have shared yoga to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of students pretty much anywhere you could think of. Each student has shown me either where I have been, where I am or where I am going. I am no longer intimidated by teaching about life and spirituality in my classes, regardless of age and experience. Empathy goes a long way when you can’t relate exactly. Each location was a sacred space for that moment. All because we came together to share the practice of yoga. Thank you to all I have crossed paths and cheers to the next 10 years!