I took a class in college on dance theory and the examination of the dancing body through the lens of race, class, gender, sexuality. The professor for this class intimidated me to no end. Physically she was petite. Energetically her presence demanded attention. I recall sinking into my chair during her lectures with the hope she wouldn't call on me. In a tiny room with a max of 25 students I was never very successful. The class ended up being one of my favorites in my five years of college (yes I was in college for five years). Now this professor occasionally takes my public classes. The first time she took my class I wanted to bolt out of the studio. Of course I've matured in my teaching and I find her in my classes with more regularity. Yesterday on her way out of the studio she said, "You really need to teach a 75 minute class." I took that as a huge compliment and responded with, "75 minutes? I really need to teach a 90 minute class."
My regular students hear me say it all the time, but 60 minutes just isn't enough time! As I've grown into my teaching and developed my voice I'm learning that I want more time with my students. I intentionally format my classes in a way that encourages students to take my classes on a regular basis. Every one or two weeks I expand upon the material from previous practices. I started this process earlier this year and it has been so satisfying to watch students embody the content. I can also see that students are truly benefiting from the process as they dive deeper into their practice.
Public classes are popular for a reason. You've got 60 minutes to spare? Just hop into a class at your closest studio. You'll most likely leave feeling energized, focused, and you'll probably get a decent workout. Talk about efficiency! Of course I selfishly want more time with my students. That's why I've started to explore the world beyond public classes. I'm still maintaining my full-time class load of 15 or so public classes a week, but I'm realizing there's other avenues I need to explore. This exploration isn't just for me, but for my students.
I have a private client I was recently adjusting in Downward Facing Dog and she exclaimed, "You see, everyone needs this kind of attention!" She's right. A lot gets missed in public classes. I often feel guilty that I can't address all students' postures in a 60 minute class. But I have to remember that's not the purpose of a public class. I offer private sessions for that reason. I'm also dipping my toes into leading workshops and retreats to give students a chance to really dive into concentrated content with me. Sound like something you're interested in? I'll always post my upcoming workshops and special classes on my Events page. Check it out!
I feel lucky to have found a teacher that resonates with me. It's not the best route for everyone, but once I dedicated a lot of time to studying and practicing with my teacher I started to make real strides in my practice. When I was practicing with a handful of teachers I felt like I wasn't progressing. Stagnation isn't bad, of course. Now I just feel like I have a better understanding of my practice and I've been able to seamlessly go beyond my asana practice and layer in pranayama and meditation. I'm definitely not everyone's teacher, however if you're truly committed to your practice give yourself permission to explore various teachers. Once you find the one that clicks consider working one-on-one with that teacher or get involved with your teacher's workshops. What do you have to lose?