Last week, I had the great honor to teach a class at my yoga home, YogaGypsy in Springdale. This was the class required to complete my yoga teacher training program, and I actually felt pretty prepared. I had a few delusions of grandeur beforehand, and I was pretty sure everyone’s minds would be blown by some really clever anecdotes I had thought up. Surprisingly, the day of the class, I was nervous. I was, “I’m about to vomit while pacing the floors and biting my nails” nervous. As I start to speak in class, my voice is a little shakey, but I was doing pretty okay. As I am leading the class through the sequence of poses, the anecdotes didn’t come. I was blank. I remembered some things I thought up, but they didn’t fit. I was a teacher without a story.
One thing I have learned throughout my training process is to embrace silence, but in this exact moment, I didn’t want silence. In my head, all I could think was, “Really? My mind has a billion things to say every other minute of the day, but now is the time you stop?” Pre-teacher training Lauren probably would have crawled in the fetal position, cried, and would have vowed to never return to such a horrible quiet place. At this point in my yoga education, however, I had too many tools in my tool belt to just give up. I just breathed. I sat with the discomfort. I listened to my students breathe. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I have heard. This group of amazing people came to breathe, and they trusted me enough to let me help them. I was honored. I was humbled. I kept going.
Things rarely go according to plan, and honestly I can say now, “Thank God.” My very unrealistic expectations (even if they were ones of success) had me in some alternate universe, but my reality brought me down to earth. It was a true teachable moment for me. How many times do we rehearse the right thing to say to impress others, to get our way, or to feel validated? Ultimately, this ego-driven rehearsal of saying “the right thing” comes off as inauthentic and blocks connection to other people. So, the one thing I was hoping to create (connection with my students), I was destroying. I had to stop trying to look good. I just had to be myself, here and now. I didn’t need a cool story. They didn’t need to be rolling on the floor laughing. All that was required was my total presence.