• Carolyn Smith

Guest Post : Teaching to an Empty Room

I am excited to share my friend Brie from A Breath of Yoga with you! She is a good friend, a fellow yoga teacher and a graduate of my 200 hour & 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training. If you are ever in northern Maine - check her out for sure! A Breath of Yoga

Like many yoga teachers, maybe even most, I began teaching in someone else’s studio.  Two years ago I moved to a very rural community and built a small studio of my own.  I love this space and spend hours secluded there reading, researching, writing and practicing yoga.  

My studio comfortably accommodates five students and six can squeeze in if needed.  However, needing to squeeze in a sixth student has not been a problem.  In fact, I generally have only one or two students.  And, more often than not, no one attends my four weekly classes.  Yet, every Sunday I begin again reading, researching, writing and practicing a new class for the week ahead.  

The process of writing a yoga sequence is still challenging.  I want the class to be physically accessible to all of my students.  I want it to be enjoyable.  I want it to be meaningful.  I want to introduce new poses and keep the familiar.  I consider the music.  I consider the intent for the class and for the week.

Every sequence I write I practice and make it my own.  I know it.  I feel it.  I love it.  I’m eager to share it.  I open the studio early.  I make sure the space is clean and the temperature comfortable.  I meditate.  I start the music.  Then, before I know it, it’s five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes after the start of class and no one has arrived.  I don’t understand why no one has come.  They said they would.  They confirmed the time.  They “looked forward to it.”  

All those wasted hours reading, researching, writing and practicing this class.  For nothing.  I can just turn off the lights in the empty room and leave.  But, I don’t.  I start class.  I begin in meditation.  I teach the sequence.  I queue every pose as if the room was brimming with students.  I physically move in and out of every asana as if I were the student.  I offer modifications for each pose where I, the student, may need a block, a blanket or a strap.  I speak clearly and find a new way to queue forward fold or downward dog so that it might resonates with someone that didn’t get it before.  

Finally, in Savasana, I find complete and total silence.  I let go.  I drop in.  I am grateful for my body and my breath.  I am grateful for this space to read, research, write, practice and teach yoga.  I am grateful for yoga.  I am grateful.


A Breath of Yoga

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