When I first started teaching yoga, I was so overwhelmed by every single class that I didn't even notice individual students. I mean I realized that they were separate from one another, but I would not have recognized anyone outside of class. I was so clouded by my desperate need to get through the class without anyone running out screaming or falling down hysterically laughing.
So, for the first few weeks, I never noticed the number of people in class - I secretly hoped it was small, so as not to embarrass myself too badly. One day, a few months in, I walked into class and realized that it was incredibly small: maybe four people. I felt like my other classes had been larger than this. My throat got tight, and I felt a slight blush sweep over my face: maybe I can't do this? I had never considered that nobody would come to class – yoga classes always seemed to have people in them. My thoughts leapt to how I could fix the situation, “I'll play Brittany Spears;” I'll make a super fun sequence;” “I'll say really profound things.” Shoot – I realized there's no guarantee that any of those things would work.
I like to think at that moment that I paused and took a breath, like a good yoga teacher, but, honestly, I'm not sure what happened. I do remember that I looked out over those four people, and I instantly knew that there was not a thing I could do to control the situation. People would come and they would not come: classes would be big and small. The only thing I knew that I could do, every time I taught was to show up with my authentic teaching on that day, in that class. I figured, as long as I keep living my life, and having my experiences, and shining them through the yoga lens, I would have something to teach: and it would be real for me. It was a clear moment, and, for the most, part, it has worked for me. I show up to class, honestly, always a little surprised that anyone comes, and teach from my recent life experiences. The result is that I have big and small classes, and I get to keep teaching this practice that I deeply adore.