Natural born teacher?
When I was little, I didn’t know what I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up. People at school and friends of my parents were always asking me what I wanted to dedicate myself to, and to tell you the truth – it was always a question that bothered me. Why did it matter so much?
At 16, when I was old enough to get a job, I worked with kids during the summers and holiday periods, then afterwards I worked for a few years in clubs in Paris. When I came to Ibiza in 2004 I worked in a restaurant (the worst experience ever!), then opened a shop with my friend, before finally, I opened Hot Yoga Ibiza studio in 2009.
I didn’t know I was going to become a yoga teacher. I didn’t plan it. The opportunity to go to teacher training in Hawaii came up when I was quite new to my practice, and I thought why not? It could be fun, I had the time and I had the money. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a teacher or not, but the experience was interesting to me. I thought, when I get back I’ll give one or two lessons and see what happens. I didn’t know if I had the ability inside me or not.
You don’t actually teach a full class when you’re in teacher training, you just teach one or two poses to a room of about 50 people. Your first official class doesn’t take place until you get back and are in your studio in front of real live students. I had no idea what it would be like. But you never know until you try, so when I came back and gave my first class, and my ego was constantly telling me it was bad. And oh my god… it was not good!
I just did what I could, but all I could think about was the dialogue, and not being able to give corrections at the same time. In my head I couldn’t even see the students. I think because I was teaching at my old yoga studio, and I knew most of the students, it made me more nervous. Their feedback was that I was really flat, so I had to work at changing my style – but in the end it’s like anything. The more you practice, the better you get. I taught a second class, and a third and another…
The more I gave the dialogue, the more I was able to forget about it, and start to be able to switch in and out of the dialogue and corrections. It started to come a lot more naturally. Eventually I felt a real connection with teaching – it was when I realised my own teacher wasn’t giving anything to the students through her classes. I thought, I can give more than this, I can run a more professional studio and so I decided to open my own school.
It’s funny – someone once calculated my human design chart and apparently it said I was born to be a teacher of some kind! Now it does feel like something I am meant to do. I try not to think about it, I try to concentrate on what I am doing in the moment. I try to give my best without any expectations or frustrations.
I love what I do. I like teaching. I also like to learn. I learn from my students – they are like holding a mirror in front of you. Sometimes I think I am part psychologist, part yoga teacher! My students all need support in different ways, and it takes time to get to know how to bring them to where they need to be. Usually in the first class I can see if they are the type who needs to be pushed, encouraged, helped or given space, and then after class I always try to have some communication with them… but it’s not always easy.
Of course, there have been times when I think about not teaching anymore. Usually it’s when I am teaching too much – I teach seven days a week and the hardest thing is that every day is the same, again and again. When the classes are quiet, it can be difficult. I feel it is my responsibility to provide the space for my students to practice every day, so when they don’t come I feel let down by their lack of dedication, but I know I need to be less attached and have less expectations – I am only human! I am learning more patience and letting things happen as they are.
How have I evolved as a teacher over the years? I think you’d have to ask my students. Some people love my classes, some people hate my classes! You’ll have to come and try one to make up your own mind.