I technically taught my first yoga class on Saturday.
I say, "technically" because:
1) I've been technically teaching yoga to my husband and to my cats (although, let's be real: to myself. Little bastards never get out of corpse pose).
2) It was part of a group practicum where the students were fellow trainees.
Regardless, it was a trip, walking around the room and giving adjustments when it wasn't my turn to run the sequence. It was equally a trip to go to the front of the studio and run the last bits of the sequence. I slipped into that "tai chi me" I discussed a million years back, ignoring the fact that my heart was in my throat and my face was flushed like you wouldn't believe, and started leading the class.
Apparently our sequence was a hit. As one of my classmates joked, "Your voice is so soothing, we were ready to do whatever you said. 'Now, just follow the lemmings off of the cliff...'" Which, for me, is a huge, huge compliment. My favorite yoga teachers -- both in person and on YouTube -- have one thing in common: a calm, soothing voice that lulls you just as much as the sequence does.
Of course, we're far from out of the woods: we are only halfway through the training, and there's a much larger practicum waiting for us. And there certainly is a difference between joking through a sequence with your smart-aleck husband/a room full of sleeping cats and actually leading a class with students who are relying on you to provide them with a great physical and mental experience. But the feedback from my first stab at it really has been great. And needed. Even though I've been making huge strides in terms of my career with writing, even though my tai chi class (classes - holy shit, we're getting back into the plural again), I'm still a little shaky with this post-preschool-teaching life. We're closing in on a year since I left and there's still some things I got to sort out. Hopefully leaving the ECE world behind is the closest I ever get to a divorce, because, damn, it certainly felt like one.
As I see it, yoga was there for me when early education was getting the better of me. When I walked into our brand new house with a vibrant blue hallway and beige den, I walked right back out and into my favorite yoga studio (after, y'know, crying and handing my phone over to my husband so he could email the painters). Yoga was there for me when I recognized some unhealthy thoughts patterns -- some obvious, some not so obvious -- that I had picked up along the way, especially while growing up. If I can provide some of that to even one person, then I know I'm on the right path.
Our yoga class's theme was "letting go of expectations". I paraphrased something I use in my tai chi classes ("there is always something to learn in tai chi. So where you are on that path is irrelevant, so long as you're moving forward") after demonstrating a fairly difficult apex pose. The classmates appreciated the reminder that we don't have to do the craziest poses in its fullest expression, that we just have to do what's right for us. And it's a reminder I need from time to time as well. I don't have to already be at the finish line. So long as I am on the path, I'm doing a-okay.