The first time I attended a Hot Yoga studio, I felt like I was a commercially sealed object in a box heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Students placed their mats in straight lines often side by side, leaving just enough elbow room for limited movement. Classes ranged from forty to sixty students and the teachers didn’t always have opportunity to attend to everyone. Despite the overzealous keener that I was, there were times when I felt like a dizzy and struggling animal trying to catch up to everyone else as I stumbled over my jagged breath.
In a booming town like Fort St. John, where Hot Yoga is still a novel concept, I know that practicing in such an environment might be a foreign experience for most. So as a new teacher and practitioner, this can sometimes pose as a major challenge. On the other hand, it works to my advantage as well, for I have the freedom to explore and create a new, perhaps even a holistic approach to Hot Yoga.
Of course, it would surely be nice to claim that I am a good instructor and always make the practice of the students my utmost priority. In all honesty however, this is not always true. There are still times when I lose my self in my practice that I neglect to acknowledge the struggling beginner who is probably feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted by the rigorous flow of sequences offered in some of my classes.
Thankfully, I’m learning more as I go especially under the ongoing tutelage and profound guidance of my teachers and through the insight I receive from the students in my classes. For this, I am truly grateful. Through them, I am learning that every “body” is different. How I experience my Yoga will be unique to everyone else and that it is empathy and compassion that makes a good class; not just how I teach it.
To conclude, teaching Yoga and practicing Yoga are completely different dimensions but are both sides of the same coin. It is not something that can easily be mirrored or replicated. At best, it might be safe for me to say that it can only essentially be experienced.