On July 4, 2008, I had an epiphany. I needed to become a yoga teacher. I was looking for a career change, having recently left my job as a producer at WCVB-TV. I loved yoga. Well, I loved asana, the hotter, the sweatier, the flow-ier the better. I thought I should turn this passion for flow into a career. I wanted to start right away and it needed to be in Boston. I was painfully undiscerning. By some yoga miracle, a teacher from Los Angeles, Natasha Rizopoulos, was starting a 200-hour training later that week at the old Back Bay Yoga. I signed up. The Yoga Gods were definitely smiling down on me. Even though I had just made the most impulsive and most un-educated decision, it was the best decision. Natasha’s training was a gift. It changed my life and my practice. My passion for flow was still there but it was now built on smarter, sturdier ground. The training gave me confidence because it gave me knowledge.
I started teaching, mostly just my friends. The owners of On the Mat Yoga in Concord, MA let me use their studio space during off hours twice a week where a group of friends would pay me $5 each to take my class. When more and more people started showing up for my $5 classes, the studio owners took a chance on me and put my classes on the schedule. Like every good (and very green) Natasha student, I had a lot of information to share in every pose. This vast alignment knowledge is fabulous unless you are my student holding plank!
I stumbled and grew as a teacher. I eventually learned that I didn’t need to share everything I knew about plank every time I taught it. With each class, I gained more confidence and slowly stopped parroting Natasha and found my own voice and style. I ended up buying On the Mat Yoga in 2013 and running the studio. I love my studio and my teaching. But, a few years ago, I felt my teaching was becoming stale. I knew I needed to re-commit to my own personal practice and training so I enrolled in DUY’s 300-hour teacher training led by Natasha and Barbara Benagh. I found a space where I could be a student only and experience a weekly flow of knowledge.
It is crystal clear that to be a good teacher, I need to be a good student. There is always a part of me that feels like a fraud, like I don’t know enough to be a great teacher. Socrates is credited with saying “The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.” That’s how I feel and it is what keeps me motivated… and humble. Of course, I will never know everything there is to know but I will always keep an open, curious mind. I am deeply grateful for Natasha’s Wednesday Master Class for Teachers and Patricia’s Friday Night Iyengar Series. I learn something every week when I study with these amazing women. I am giddy when I leave, excited to share their pearls of wisdom with my own students.
I am and always will be a student first and a teacher second.