Ever since I moved to Israel, I haven’t taught much yoga like I did while living in the United States.
When I lived in New Jersey, I taught several classes a week in yoga studios and health centers for groups of anywhere from eight to 25 people.
It has been about four years since I’ve taught a regular yoga class.
And for me, that’s like being a fish out of water.
The reason I haven’t taught a yoga class in four years is because I didn’t have a space conducive to teaching classes.
There were no public buildings on the kibbutz and my home is too small to accommodate people for a yoga class.
After four years of waiting, a new youth hall was built which gave me the chance to get back into teaching.
This building contains a large all-purpose room (perfect for teaching a yoga class to up to 20 people) and three small classrooms (for teaching up to six students). People in the community had previously expressed interest in a yoga class, so it was a no-brainer for me to start one immediately.
I chose a night of the week to teach and advertised it to the community.
On the night of the first class, I arrived early, heated up the large all-purpose room (expecting at least ten people to show up), set the ambience with candles, put on relaxation music, and waited.
But, only my husband and one other woman showed up.
And that was it for the night.
I managed to not get stuck on disappointment, recognizing it was the middle of the winter and people have a hard time leaving their cozy homes at night.
But, I stopped and close my eyes for a moment.
Nonetheless, teaching to a class of two in a space that can fit 20 made me feel sad.
And I told myself that.
The space felt empty, my energy lost.
I didn’t mention this to the woman or my husband, but concerned that neither would return for another class. I was certain they also suffered from a lack of ambience.
I uncovered my beliefs.
As a practitioner, I’ve always felt ambience to be a signficant factor in whether or not I enjoy a yoga class.
When I dug even deeper, I realized an empty room represented more to me. True or not, an empty room meant I wasn’t a good enough teacher to fill it. Or so I thought.
A good yoga teacher would be able to fill up the big room.
And have lots of students.
And I only have a few.
Which means people don’t like my classes.
And if people don’t like my classes, then what am I doing teaching yoga in the first place?
I took a few breaths before I walked into my house.
I knew these beliefs weren’t 100% accurate.
I considered to remind myself I had a great reputation as a yoga teacher back in New Jersey.
And that I could teach in the small room instead of the all-purpose room. After all, teaching in a small room does not reflect who I am as a teacher.
In fact, I considered teaching in a small room could create a more intimate space, a space where the students would feel more attention from me than they would in a large space where energy is lost.
And that teaching in a small room could create more physical warmth on these cold nights.
I got stuck on disappointment, but it’s OK.
The following week, I welcomed my two students into the small room with a renewed sense of love, presence and optimism.