My Secret Weapon
By Lisa Taylor
The first time I taught a private yoga lesson I had only been a yoga teacher for two years and my experience was limited to the teaching of set-sequence style group classes. I will never forget this first student. We could not have been more different; I was in my 30's, flexible and physically active. He was in his 60's accustomed to a desk job with a few pounds to lose and injuries to manage. We were both uncomfortable and a little bit nervous. Standing on his mat waiting for me to indicate what to do first he towered over me. At this moment, time suddenly stood still. I looked around the room, looked at my student, and began to sweat. I felt unprepared, panic ensued. It occurred to me I would not be able to teach the way I always did, speaking anonymously to a large group of willing students. I would need to do something different and do it fast, but what?
Until the-moment-when-time-stood-still, my way of teaching could be described as auto-pilot. I knew a lot and could tell it to people, but my class was no different from pressing play on a recording. Nothing personal, real or of the moment was happening, just something polished and rehearsed. I thought it was working, and to some extent it was, but at this moment, everything changed.
My years of practicing and teaching yoga created in me an ability to see the world in a new way. In time, discovering through my physical growth taught me a pathway for growth I now use for other areas of my life; for example in relationships, managing anxiety, brightening my outlook, and having confidence. Precisely, what I once saw as impossible, as one significant, insurmountable obstacle I can now see as millions of tiny parts so close together they just appear as though they are one whole.
Curiosity so deep it can be called a sense of wonder has become my secret weapon, and this private lesson was my first glimpse into its power. Once I caught my breath and asked my student to begin breathing I could see where he was uncomfortable and how I might change the position, giving him access to ease. There were a million tiny little things I could offer. The success of his next natural breath gave me the confidence to increase my curiosity. Before I knew it, the hour was over, and we were planning for the next session. All I had to do was have a sense of wonder, and I could see the answers. I did not have to come to the lesson already knowing. My education and experience are all present in the background when a sense of wonder is the lead.
Lisa Taylor is the Chief Visionary Officer of Evolution Power Yoga in Pennsylvania.
Lisa Taylor’s classes, like her studios, breathe with timeless beauty. Taylor, founder of Evolution Power Yoga, creates spaces and experiences that bring the body to the edge and stir the soul to dance. A renowned member of the Baptiste Yoga Faculty, Lisa is on the cutting edge of mind-body exploration and new program development. Courageous, progressive and committed to responsible growth, through her students, Lisa inspires the connection and transformation of far-reaching communities.
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