Learning the ropes

Working with my monkey theme, I’ve been thinking a lot about my recent transition from corporate girl squirming to dive out of the ergonomic office chair (honestly people – sitting on the floor in a crossed legged seat will do more for your spine than a $1000 chair) and onto the yoga mat to the new yoga teacher girl I’ve become. My BF and I had an energy-charged discussion last night surrounding the amazing new opportunities to teach that have been coming my way of late.  Without realizing it, he shared a piece of sage advice that turned into a high wattage light bulb moment:

“Just keep your hand on one rope until you have a firm grasp of the next one.”

Like, totally!! (yes I’m a girl of the 80s)

This underscored exactly how I have been feeling. During my light bulb moment, I literally saw myself in monkey form swinging and flailing wildly through the jungle reaching for ropes in both excitement and terror:

If I grab this rope and let go of the other, will I be giving up my security?

If I hang on to what I’ve got and ignore this new, glittery rope swinging in front of me, will I be giving up an amazing opportunity?

Upon graduating from Yoga Teacher Training in August, I expected my teaching opportunities to take time…maybe I’d get to sub classes for a while, eventually earning my own class within a few months.  Use the next month or so to ‘perfect’ my sequencing in our home studio. Within a week of returning to Princeton, however, I landed a class right off the bat, and three weeks later, more classes at a second studio. Forget perfection, get in there and teach!

I LOVE teaching, ADORE learning and exploring, and feel ready to guide others into developing their yoga practice.

Still, I get a little scared sometimes…

How many classes should I take on in the beginning?  How challenging or restorative should my classes be?  How do I know if my students are satisfied? Disappointed? Energized? Inspired?

So much to consider.  But at this juncture, I’ve experienced enough in life (both missed opportunities and wise decisions to hold onto what has served me well) to believe I have a pretty good grasp on what ropes to reach for and when to hold on tight.

Teaching three classes a week feels right. Right now. The perfect balance between holding on and letting go as I learn the ropes of this new, exciting life path.

Now if I could just stand on my hands while eating a banana with my feet…

What are YOU holding onto? And should you let go and grab a new rope??

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Moving Space

As I stand admiring the freshly-painted Nectarina walls (thank you Lowe’s!) in our new apartment’s spare bedroom turned yoga oasis, I’m transported back to memories of various spaces beyond the traditional studio where I’ve practiced my favorite form of movement.

Just less than a month ago I bent, twisted and hopped on a commercial horse mat serving as a hardwood floor beneath my mat on the carpeted living room in our last apartment in Princeton. Not ideal, but staring at the large black rectangle positioned smack in between sofa and dining room table left little opportunity to circumnavigate and blow off one more opportunity to perfect my Bird of Paradise or Side Crane.

Prior to that was a windowless tiled floor (at least the horse mat wasn’t needed) in the back pantry off the kitchen at my cozy brick Queen Anne apartment in Seattle.

Just this past summer I found a lovely grassy patch at a local park on Lake Chelan below a willowy tree to practice while my boyfriend and his son whizzed around the lake on a Jetski.  So delightful I barely noticed the occasional passerby staring and wondering what crazy farm I escaped from.

I’ve also done my share of practicing near entries – specifically, doors.  There’s simply no more convenient place to nail the handstand than near the door.  Better to fly into the door from down dog – at least you come back down the same direction you started – than painfully falling over on the other side.  I’ve banged enough doors now that I’m rocking about a 50% ‘stick’ rate of landing upright and hovering in handstand without touching the door – hooray!

So as I gaze around my new yoga room, I’m ever grateful to my dear boyfriend, Mr. G, who created this gorgeous space for us.  Nectarine walls, three-quarter inch plywood covering the entire room instead of horse mats to provide stability under our mats (next home requirement – HARD WOOD FLOORS THROUGHOUT), bamboo potted tree, stereo system, mirrors and artwork, large windows looking out to a lush green landscape and a little fat-bellied smiling Buddha approving of every down dog.

My practice is often the most joyful when not confined to a predetermined schedule with a specific instructor and fee attached to it.  Where do you practice?