This past week-end I taught my first class at Rama Lotus. I put tons of pressure on myself before going because in my mind this is THE school to be a part of in Ottawa. They were one of the first schools in Ottawa and are currently one of the biggest. They were one of the first schools in Canada to have their teacher training course recognized by HRDC which is also huge. Their space is amazing and so are their teachers. In my head I made it bigger than I probably should have. I should not have made this class seem any more important than any other yoga class that I have ever taught.
It was interesting it was a prenatal class that I was substituting for. I had met non of the women before, all except one were first time mom's which is great. I really try to focus on bonding with the baby during my prenatal yoga classes and in the past women have quite liked this approach. So of course I tried it again. I have to say they were the toughest crowd ever!!! During asana practice I always encourage my students to smile - which some may find odd. Smiling means that you are breathing and that you are relaxed in a posture, if you can't muster up a smile, even half a smile then you may not be as comfortable as you could be. Not that you need to be laughing and smiling the entire time, but bringing joy to your yoga class can and should be attainable.
During prenatal yoga there is very minimal assisting due to the nature of the pregnant body. Most of the assists are verbal and visual not much touch and mostly I remain on or near my mat. The class tends to run at a smooth easy and sometimes a bit slower pace. The savasana is longer usually about 8 to 10 minutes which for people who have not done a lot of yoga can seem long. So we do the practice, they have their savasana, I chant a bit at the end. Close the class and barely get a smile, maybe the occasional nod and thanks under the breath as they leave but that's it.
Feeling somewhat dejected and wondering did they enjoy the practice did they hate it - what???? I was sitting outside waiting for the cloak room to clear and started chatting with another teacher. She asked how the class went and proceeded to tell me that she used to teach prenatal and stopped because she could tell anything about how they were feeling, the same thing I was wondering. Then it hit me! Pregnant women are giving so much of themselves, of their energy and of their being to their babies that they don't have much else. They may not be able to give more to their environment. Aparigraha! I was grasping at an expectation of how my students should or could be reacting, instead of just accepting where they were. With the realization that most of what happens is internal I will approach my next class with less expectations of how I should be and how they should be and just lead the practice. They will get out of it what they need and I will be doing what I love and am good at!