Teaching Recap: February 2023

Keeping things fresh by exploring the ways orient a pose to the floor.

I’ve been thinking this month about seeing and being seen, and how we watch with more than just our eyes.

Many new practitioners spend class shifting their gaze around, craning their neck, trying to get visual guidance on how a shape is formed in the body, or how to transition from one place to another. It’s how we learn. The seeing is largely ocular. Over time, we can learn to use sensation to feel the size of our step as we slide a foot back, to feel the distance between our arm and our ear, to feel the relationship between the basket of the ribs and the bowl of the pelvis. We learn what contracting the hamstrings feels like when we step into the heel. Proprioception.

With continued practice, we build our ability to notice things like the heartbeat, and what actions cause it to slow or speed. We notice the expansion and contraction of the lungs, and why/when our breath changes pace. We track the temperature of the body, and notice when it warms with effort or with a flush of pride. Interoception. We, as yogis, learn to see ourselves through myriad organs and systems.

I’m always charmed by long-time practitioners who seem never once to clock me as the teacher, whose focus is held within the boundaries of their mat. They are watching themselves so carefully, they don’t need visual confirmation from other bodies or voices.

Finally, lots of us experience joy in being seen by someone else. It provides validation, it indicates care, it affirms our worth. I have the teacher privilege of watching yogis. I watch with my eyes and with my hands. I see where you are in space, and where you are in your body. I tell you what I see by calling your name in praise, or offering feedback, or providing a guiding touch. Sometimes I simply say, “I see you, [name]”. I love personal attention as a practitioner, and I love giving personal attention as a teacher. I think you love it, too, since you often tell me after class what the individual feedback and hands-on assists meant to you.

Schedule Update

I was delighted to be offered a second weekly class at SOMA Yoga Center. The studio space is beautiful, and Amy Leydon and Shannon McNally have cultivated such a warm and welcoming atmosphere for practitioners. I have added a Dynamic Flow class on Tuesdays, 12:00-12:50p, which is zippy and explores the more playful and adventurous asana. I continue to lead Align + Flow on Sunday mornings, 10:00-11:15a.

The Deets

This shorter month had an effect on my totals. February by the numbers:

  • 60 classes
  • 65 hours of teaching time
  • 664 students in attendance
  • 8 locations
  • 2 new babies welcomed!

Your Words

And here are a selection of sweet comments and funny feedback from students and peers, received or overheard. The ones that made my heart twinkle are in bold:

  • Such an amazing class, I feel like a new woman.
  • Your classes are always so rich.
  • I experienced better mobility to wash behind and across the back in the shower tonight after practice. Thanks, Jill!
  • I love Jill’s classes. She’s so patient.
  • We were fangirling you so hard like, when Jill comes around during class I instantly feel supported and like it’s okay to not do the pose.
  • Wow. That was powerful.
  • I love all the shoulder work we’ve been doing lately. I feel like it’s changing my posture.
  • Can we do this class again? Years of PT on my neck and shoulders have not provided the relief and release that sequence just did. I am so grateful.

I say it frequently, but it’s true: I’m honored that you choose to share your practice and part of your day with me. Thank you.

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