In 5 weeks today my teacher training starts!!! It's pretty scary but at the same time I think I will be as ready as I'll ever be. I've been practicing almost every day for the past few months, teaching twice a week, and recently I started taking classes 3x a week at lunchtime.
Taking classes again has been an amazing experience. It was really serendipitous that I found these classes just as I'm preparing for my training. My teacher is a very experienced Yogi, a brand apart from the usual drop-in studio teachers who are not significantly older than I am. This teacher has maturity and many years of a dedicated practice. He pushes us to completely new understandings of poses while making sure that we maintain rigorous attention to the form of poses. He makes us take our time coming in so that we pay in-depth attention to our alignment and muscular activation in each pose - and then once we're there, he helps us to explore each pose deeply.
In English that translates as: "ouch"!! :) In a "oh, I have muscles there I never even knew about until I felt them every time I moved? This had sure better make me grow as a person..." kind of way.
It makes me feel again like I felt when I first came to Yoga, when I'd walk out of pretty much every class with the above sentiments. It also makes me realize the areas in which I've been lenient in my own practice. With a home practice it is so easy to be unaware of the things you're doing wrong or to ignore the poses you aren't as good at. It's easy to get egotistical, thinking "oh, yeah, I've got that pose down". But a good teacher reminds you that you've never "got a pose down". Even in perfect alignment you can always put more energy or effort into a pose, explore it more deeply, feel it more fully, or at the very least, be more connected to your breath.
So, the countdown has really started... Every day I'm trying to be a better teacher, but I'm finding it difficult to strike the right balance between giving good instructions for each pose, and keeping the class moving at a good pace. How do you 'slow down' your teaching enough to really help students get the most out of each pose, without slowing down the class too much? How much instruction is enough?