Twice in the last two months I've read books that encourage making a list of the structures in place in life when things are going really really well. Brene Brown notes that she did it as she and her husband looked at how family life goes, and then Sara Avant Stover recommends crafting an "absolute Yes list" for all areas of life. Essentially the idea is to figure out what makes things flow and work best for you. Then as times get more stressful, you make sure to move more and more towards the items on your list to help you (or your family system) stay grounded and healthy.
Since I'm moving into the wild-lands of having a baby at home again, I thought I'd do a Best Possible Scenario list for my teaching.
Here's what I find makes my teaching really hum along almost effortlessly:
My home practice is consistent and strong. I allow myself plenty of exploration and add in restorative days but I'm practicing 5 - 6 days a week for an hour or more. And I add in some Yogaglo classes with advanced teachers, and at levels that challenge me.
I'm going to class. I'm learning from other teachers, students, and my physical experience. It helps me break up ruts in my teaching and practice routines. Plus I feel I"m a part of a community.
I'm reading or listening to something that piques my interest. It could be poetry or philosophy but my mind and heart are deeply engaged in working something out that I can then bring to my students.
I have plenty of time after practice to sit, contemplate, journal, and digest my experiences.
I have a vision of where I want to take the students physically, emotionally, or spiritually
I give myself plenty of time to plan classes including both sequence and thematics
I write out my speech in the beginning. This could include several drafts, but when I really nail it, I can feel it and I see the difference in my students. And it keeps me from talking too long and taking up a ton of time at the beginning of class.
I arrive early and set up the room by chanting then playing music and am available to the students
I'm feeding my soul consistently: time in nature, dancing, art-making, crafts, journalling, time with friends.
I'm in conversation with other yoga teachers. This keeps me out of my own little world, out of my own ego and in a feeling of community which I'm always craving in my life.
My teaching schedule is manageable. I'm not overdoing it. That is, I'm only taking on classes that I enjoy and that I feel I have enough time to really pour my heart into. Which means right now I only teach a few classes while I mother one (and soon two) young children. As they grow up and more space opens in my life, I'd love to add more classes, workshops, and private lessons.
It's seriously a dream world when all of these things converge and are happening, especially for more than a string of days. But writing this all out helps me start to see how I can craft my days to give myself more of what I need, to then be able to offer from my heart to the students in class.
I recommend giving this a try for yourself. What is happening in your world that makes your teaching come alive? And if you're not a teacher, what helps you keep your heart and inspiration moving in your career?