One of my favourite pieces that I’ve written was a blog I wrote about 6 years ago entitled: Teaching from the Heart. This has really been the backbone for my teaching since I began as I feel that nothing offers a deeper sense of connection with your students than being authentic. This was re-enforced for me this week after receiving a compliment that “you aren’t intimidating” from Mo Hagan, pioneer of the fitness industry, mentor and friend, after teaching a class to mainly beginner students at the canfitpro head office. I was proud in that moment because that’s all I ever want to be when I teach, is just me.
And so in being me, there are ups and downs. I was inspired to write the post below after going through a deeply difficult time when my father was dying of cancer in 2009/2010. I was a fulltime fitness instructor at the time teaching BodyFlow, BodyJam, Yoga and a few other freestyle-based classes. I still haven’t forgotten the strength I received from my students during that time, when none of them even knew what was going on. And sure, I subbed classes out when I needed to be with my dad and my family, but I also needed those classes to feel like me.
From the very first moment I stepped on stage to teach a class, something changed in me forever and a passion was born for what we get to do as teachers. To inspire our students to appreciate movement and strength and power. And a chance for everyone in the room to take a break from the real world and just be full present. This is an interesting time of year for me. In four days is the anniversary of my Dad’s passing, but today is my birthday. Bittersweet really, because it has made me appreciate today even more. Grateful for the time we have on this planet and the opportunity to do what we love. For me, the only thing I really want to do is get on stage and teach and I get to do just that! ❤
Here’s the original post below:
Teaching From the Heart
If there is one thing I have learned in my ten years of teaching, it’s that whatever is going on in your life, whatever news you have just received, however you feel, when you walk in those studio doors nothing matters but the people in front of you. At times this can be a welcome reprieve, at other times one of the hardest things we can do. The question is how can we teach authentically, staying in the present and at the same time pretend nothing is wrong? A difficult question, one that is complex to answer. Depending on the class we are teaching, “faking it” may be the easiest solution, and we may even be surprised that the moment the music comes on or our heart rate elevates, so does our mood. Our minds clear and we can surrender our self to the movement and to the energy of the class. At other times, such as the slow flow of Yoga this can be more difficult.
I think it’s important to always honour how we feel, as we learn valuable lessons by listening to our bodies both physically but also mentally. We are able to tap in and often save ourselves from what can quickly become a downward spiral. We also travel a fine line as we try to maintain this balance between being true to ourselves and being professional as teachers and checking our problems at the door. Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find ourselves, but we always will. Joyfulness is a state of mind and attitude is everything. As we cue our class to be present, let’s listen and do the same for our self.
- Take time to breathe. We always begin our classes asking our students to separate themselves from their worlds outside the studio doors, let’s take that same advice and breathe with them.
- Silence is golden. Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself during your class to quietly reflect and find your words.
- Allow your students to be your inspiration. The connections we make with our students are invaluable. Just as we can change their entire day with a simple smile, they can do the same for us.
Yours in Happiness and Health – Namaste,