Who Me? Teach Yoga?

08 Jul 19

If someone had told me two years ago I would become a yoga teacher, I would have given them a very funny look. I taught Junior High School for ten years and ran a Sudbury model school for six so teaching was nothing new to me. But yoga? Up till July 2017, I don’t think I’d taken more than twenty yoga classes in my life!

Then my S.I. joints started giving me problems and in my search for something more permanently healing than chiropractic adjustments, I landed in a Kaiut Yoga class Lela Iselin was teaching. And then I had a new problem: my body loved Kaiut Yoga, but Lela was going travelling, and no one else in my city taught Kaiut Yoga.

At the time, I knew three yoga teachers so I talked to them about Kaiut Yoga, hoping to interest them enough to take the teacher training. When that failed, a little whisper in my mind said, “Why don’t YOU take the training?” Who me? Teach yoga? 

I tried to avoid thinking about it, but it came up ceaselessly. I became agitated, wondering how I would pay for the trip, the training and then I wondered why I was even thinking about going; it seemed flat out bizarre to be contemplating becoming a yoga teacher.

Then one day I made the decision: “I’ll go.” I reserved my spot at the training, and suddenly all my agitation vanished. It really felt like I had made the right decision.

When I think back on my first training in Toronto, I feel like I spent the whole time in a defensive mode, guarded against this completely foreign territory I was stepping into. I kept mostly to the back of the room, and other than asking a few questions, I didn’t talk much. When Francisco asked me to share at the end of the training, I had a hard time figuring out what to say. I really enjoyed the training, it was an exciting learning curve, and it left me feeling very inspired; but still, the idea of becoming a teacher in a field in which I had absolutely no previous knowledge or experience was very intimidating.

Yet I knew I now had to move forward and start teaching; it was that inner whisper again!

Thankfully, a friend who lives a province over was interested in trying Kaiut Yoga so I started teaching her twice per week over Skype. I recorded the classes and continued my own practice by following my recordings. Then my bolster order arrived and my sister said, “You can start classes!” I resisted, I hesitated, I procrastinated, until I had no excuses left. “First class – Thursday,” I finally told my sister. 

I’ve been teaching classes three days per week since then. Sometimes I have one student and sometimes I have as many as seven. I have yet to fill my basement studio, which fits nine.

In November, I went to Amsterdam for my second teacher training. This time I felt wide open: I was excited and delighted! Francisco asked me to share about my S.I. joint experience and I bubbled with enthusiasm about the whole experience and all the ways Kaiut Yoga has enriched my life! 

Does this mean all my fears are gone? Nope. I’m especially still concerned when I get a new student whose physical condition is completely new to me. How do I help them? Do I need to modify poses? Do they risk getting injured because I’m so inexperienced? Thankfully I have the Facebook teacher group to turn to with questions; that has been a huge support for me! I also keep working on “asking better questions”, as Francisco instructed us to do. 

When I was in Toronto, people at the training were joking around by posting notes advertising support groups for various “conditions” springing up from the training. I vaguely remember some kind of sukhasana support group and “the shame of leaving my cell phone ringer on” support group. At one point I put up a note offering the “I will NEVER teach Kaiut Yoga support group”. I know there are at least a few other teachers who initially felt that way, and now I can say I have made it through that phase too! And what have I found on the other side? Such joy, fulfilment and gratitude! I still have SO much to learn and I know I’ll always feel that way, but I jumped in with both feet and I didn’t sink. Instead I’m here with my story, hoping it may inspire those coming along behind me!

Nicolette Groeneveld

Edmonton, Canada