Don't Fear It, Embrace It
I have been a certified yoga instructor for over a year now and have been teaching classes for about 10 months. I feel like I have grown so much in my practice, in my teaching, and in my attitude. I am super excited to open up about my journey with teaching over the last few months, especially how I first decided I wanted to teach and a bit of the in-betweens that led me to where I am today.
I would have never guessed 2 years ago that I would be a yoga instructor, but I am so glad my path led me here! I love teaching yoga more than any other "job" I have ever done. It is so fulfilling and brings me so much joy! I am not kidding you, I forget I actually get paid to do this and am always pleasantly surprised to see a little extra money in my bank account every month! Tanden (my husband) is the main reason I became a yoga teacher. I had been living in Coeur d' Alene for a little less than a year and was feeling really bummed, had no direction for my career future, and had been working random jobs that were fine but I felt like my creativity was dying inside me. Tanden would ask me all the time " Nichole what do you love doing?" I would say “idk... idk... idk...” Finally, one day, he said, “you love yoga, why don't you just become a yoga teacher.” When he said that I remember thinking, " you can't JUST become a yoga instructor, its such a crazy process, its expensive, time consuming, and I am not good enough!!
Here is one of my main growth points; I was letting FEAR get in the way. Fear of finances, time, and my ability. Which honestly sucks, I hate that if it wasn't for someone else's idea I wouldn't be teaching today, I would STILL be too scared! It took me taking the leap and not knowing how any of it was going to turn out because no matter how much support I had to be the one to actually do it! So I went through training, which honestly was not very helpful to me, I felt completely unprepared to teach by the end of it. I know this has to do with where I did my training but by the time I realized it, it was too late. So there I was a certified yoga instructor who felt not ready to teach, like I had just wasted so much and once again was not good enough. Tanden then, once again encouraged me and once again I pressed on. I applied to the few places I could and eventually was hired on at the Kroc Center.
I was excited and nervous, so nervous! ! I was replacing their rock star yoga instructor who had been teaching the same classes for years, meaning the majority of the students were quite advanced. I actually snuck into one of the classes a few weeks before I started teaching and I remember some of the students talking about who the new instructor would be and just sitting there thinking to myself if I say its me all they will do the rest of the class is try to evaluate me... So I didn't say a thing ha! I started teaching, at first a little awkwardly pretty basic and then slowly I started to grow. With the lack of training it really was up to me to teach myself. I spent hours reading books on sequencing a class, watching videos of instructors I admired, writing flows, and practicing them. For each one hour class I taught I must have been spending 3 + hours prepping. I remember thinking this can't be worth it... I had one student who could NOT be pleased... the passive aggressive remarks were haunting my dreams. I kept on though, kept trying to be a better teacher, pushing myself and pouring my everything into it.
Then it kind of just all clicked. All of a sudden I was writing flows with ease, my classes were going smoothly, my students were loving it, I was feeling creative and I was feeling good enough, I was good enough! All the effort I put in paid off and then some! Even the student who made me feel like a failure now loves my classes! Recently, I had another student ask me if I had been taking lessons from the instructor who had been teaching before me which slightly offended me, since I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am, but then the more I thought about it I realized it was a compliment! I will gladly take a comparison to someone who is an incredible instructor that had been teaching for many more years than me!
Looking back on this whole experience is still surreal! So much has changed for me, and I am proud that I was able to keep pressing on even when I felt as if I wasn't good enough. What I have learned through my journey is that I can never let fear win! If I had not followed my dreams, I would have missed out on so much! I LOVE what I do and can't imagine not doing it! The one piece of advice I hope you would take away from my story is to not be afraid to overcome your fears. Whatever your "not good enough" is, you should challenge it because with hard work, persistence, and passion you can conquer your fears.
Thank you for reading my journey!
Photography by Laurel Cornwell with thirteen eight photography