It’s been a low and dreary couple of weeks. The weather has been a consistent gray, with patches of rain and wind to keep things interesting. It’s getting to the point that there’ll be a momentary break and I’ll involuntarily squint in bewilderment, as if I’ve forgotten what sunlight feels like when it’s not being diffused by a layer of cloud cover. It’s a reminder of what’s to come: a long, cold winter, and yet another reminder that my mood is far too dependent on the weather.
This morning’s yoga class only yielded one student. As an independent contractor, that can get frustrating: with only one student, I’ll essentially get paid in the gas money spent to get to the studio. But I got paid in spades in other ways.
To backtrack: I remember my very first yoga studio class. After spending way too much time at home doing yoga videos and crappy yoga apps, I finally bucked up enough to go to a studio. The class was exactly what I needed, the instructor was exactly the type of instructor for my personality, and I drifted into savasana with this weirdly innate understanding that the flesh and bones that made up my body was nothing compared to the dynamic spirit inside of me. It was an insane and unexpected and incredible experience and I’ve been chasing the buzz ever since, with varying degrees of success.
I always go back to that first class, that first instructor, and think about how lucky I was to have that class be my very first class. My dream when I became a registered yoga instructor was to someday give someone else that same experience.
The one person who showed up to my class had also shown up to a class I had covered a few weeks prior. She had a martial art background and I was actually her very first class. Up until today, I hadn’t seen her since — most likely because I don’t usually teach the Saturday morning class that I was subbing for — and we ended up having an accidental private (which is fitness instructor jargon for “only had one student”).
We spent a good portion of the class just chatting as we practiced, as it is incredibly weird to put on your yogi teacher voice for only one person. I got to play around with sequencing to the point that I actually found myself running out of time, and finished out the class with just enough savasana to make it a proper yoga class.
There were a lot of things we talked about that morning. Our jobs, finding out path in life, the realization that the universe tends to conspire to make things happen when it’s time for a certain change in your life to happen. She brought up her past with taekwondo and her health ailments and how she knew she had to switch to yoga. She also said a sentence to me that I thought I’d have to wait years to hear from a student:
“I’m really happy your class was my first yoga class.”
She mentioned a lot of the things I felt with my first instructor (who — spoiler alert — hosted my teacher training and owns the studio I had this morning’s class at): that connection that is rare to find in a yoga instructor, that incredible moment in savasana when the energy shifts and you feel like a new person.
Later that day, I taught my afternoon class: a gentle series at a different studio. I’ve been feeling a little unsure about teaching gentle yoga over the last week or two: I’ve been covering a “gentle” class in another town at yet another studio, only to find out that at least one student found the class “too gentle”. I’ve had a few “boring” comments semi-facetiously thrown my way (usually from those who try the yoga class at the homeless services center; comments that I don’t take to heart but still find their way of factoring in) and my first go at the aforementioned Sunday Afternoon Gentle Yoga class (which happened to be last week) felt rushed and weird and ended up not being as gentle as I’d like it to be.
But today’s class had two things: one, a student who had tried out this studio for the very first time, during my very first Sunday Afternoon Gentle Yoga class, and was now returning to be a repeat student, and, two, a brand new student who was in her later 60s and wanted to give yoga a go, and told her friend after class,”This is exactly what I need.”
In some ways, I’ll always be that little kid desperate for acceptance and recognition for her hard work. But it’s also a reminder that I’m on the right path. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I can feel it in my bones. Every crazy curveball that had been thrown my way was done so in order for me to be where I am right now.
It was also a reminder that my cheeks can still get red even when I haven’t felt the sunshine in weeks. That I can feel warm all over even when the thermostat for the house is at a draconian 60*F (hey, you try paying the oil bill). It reminded me that, even though I drive all over town and walk into studios with zero students signed up and deal with the minutia of being registered, I’m in a considerably better place than I was not even a few years ago.
Tomorrow is slated to be the only sunny day in the entire week, followed immediately by cloud cover, rain, and potential snow. I’ll have to make it a point tomorrow to bundle up, get outside, enjoy a little of that natural light, and hope my seasonal affective issues can be tricked by a few sun salutations.