Last week I brought my students into savasana at the end of a wonderful class and I was
overcome with emotion. The room was abuzz with this beautiful calm and as the room full of gorgeous souls settled into their final resting pose, I took them all in. I scanned the room with
tears in my eyes and I inhaled all of the energy that we had created in that hour. These
moments are precious and they remind me how sacred my job is. For an hour, 20 or so people
show up in front of me on their mats and they have certain expectations of how they want that
hour to go. Let’s face it, it takes a lot to carve out an hour for yourself and to take yourself away
from email inboxes, social media, life’s dramas and most importantly the chatter in your mind.
Holding space as an instructor isn’t always easy. Most days I walk into the studio with the same
BS swirling around in my head as everyone else and it isn’t always something you can easily
shut down. The beautiful thing about my job is that those days where I doubt my ability to pull it
together and teach a decent class are usually the days that I get the most out of it. Those are
the times when I leave the studio feeling lighter than when I started and grateful for a job where
I leave feeling better than when I arrived.
If you think about it, what we do as instructors is an intimidating business. We have to get up in
front of a room and put on a damn good performance day after day- some days that
performance is seamless. I’ll be busting out one liners left and right, keeping class light and fun,
my playlist is on point and even my hair looks good but then there are days where you just have
to be honest with yourself and your clients. I recently stood in front of the room getting ready to
teach a barre class and I had had a particularly rough start to the day and I just said to the room
full of people- “I’m just going to pretend that I have my shit together today.” It was honest and
raw and frankly, it was all that I had. And you know what? There were many people in the room
nodding along. I was met with compassion and understanding. I’m human too, ya know? During
teacher trainings, I always drive home the fact that being present and authentic is the key to
being a great instructor. Who would I be to stand up there that day and say “Goooood morning
world!! I am soooooo happy today!!”. People can smell that nonsense from a mile away. Luckily
I was able to put my real life drama aside and teach that class without falling into a heap of tears
on the floor but I knew that in order to create space for them, I had to be honest about how I
was meeting them that day.
I completely understand everyone’s high standards for attending a class and the results they
hope to achieve. If you’re like me then you want more than just a physical workout; I want to
have an experience. I want to leave the studio feeling centered and grounded and maybe even
having learned something new about myself in the process. I want the instructor to hold space
for me, to really see me, to feed off of the energy that the students are giving them and to share
it with us in return. It takes an educator holding space for their crew, a person who
acknowledges that the people in front of them are walking in the door with all kinds of noise
swirling around in their heads, with worries, with fears, doubts and insecurities and it’s that
person’s job to give the student a space to release that when and if they feel ready.
I am continuing to learn every day how to create a space of compassion. Our students and
clientele show up on their mats each day with their own set of challenges and obstacles. Who
knows, maybe them taking a one hour class is the most they’ve done for themselves in days,
weeks, months or longer. Our job is to fill that hour with joy, love and respect (and maybe an
added bonus of a great workout with an amazing playlist). Sometimes as educators, it can be
easy to get lost in the movement- coming up with a syllabus for class, the perfect song to pair
with an exercise, what jokes or tidbits we’ll share with the room but at the end of the day what’s
most important is to allow yourself to be seen, to meet the room with warmth and kindness and
to hold sacred space.
Take a Class!