lessons learned: teaching Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland

It all became very real when I got this email on Friday night:

yoga rocks the park email

“Healthy balance guru”? Oh man – there’s a statement to set the bar high…

And by 8:45 on Saturday morning, I was a hot mess.  Shocker.  But in the time it took me to drive down to Tremont and teach an all levels yoga class, a few lessons were taught – and even learned in the process. Funny how the teacher becomes the student FAST…

Come prepared – but not over-planned. That would have been a good thing to remember before hand: turns out putting my class plan in my iPhone Notes, in my Gmail inbox and in handwriting in my notebook proved to be overkill. I also probably didn’t need to have my playlist uploaded to both my iPhone and nano, but again – better safe than sorry.

yoga rocks the park iPhone

I never ended up sharing those first two quotes. Oh well.

No expectations. This phrase means a lot to me as that is the meaning of “nishkama” itself.  It’s one of my favorite themes to teach and it easily fell into place that morning when the weather didn’t cooperate and we moved indoors, becoming Yoga Rocks the Gym. Another huge thanks to Merrick House for hosting us. I encouraged my students to let go as I encouraged myself to settle down. It seemed to work for all of us.

Play songs that people might know already.  I wasn’t going to bust out too many crazy hippy dippy tunes. Fully stocked with John Mayer (although I did get to him), Maroon 5 and even an instrumental version of “Blurred Lines” (oh yes I did), it was fun catching people bouncing up and down  in Warrior 1 to some jams.

Stack the deck.  I knew the more familiar faces I had in the crowd, the easier I would feel as I taught my session. I invited bloggers Jill and Katie along for some fun, as well as Chris AKA DJ ScrillaAssisting me that morning were my own teachers Laura and Ylonda – catching their eyes mid-instruction helped keep me cool as a cucumber.  It was great to meet blog reader Deanna who won Rachel’s giveaway!  And it never hurts to bring your own ginger to brighten a flow: HUGE kudos for Hans trying out his first formal yoga class with me – check him out on the far left side, reversing his warrior:


(photo c/o the @YogaRocksCLE Twitter feed)

Smile your way through a sentence. During one of my first practice teaching sessions back in teaching training, Laura told me to smile as I was giving instruction. It’s a tip that I try to remember when teaching no matter the setting. I might have even cued everyone to smile while bending a bit further into their Warrior 2s. I think only one person wanted to throw their water bottle at me at that one…

Breathe along with your students. That cue of “deep breath in – long deep breath out” was meant for us all Saturday morning.

Teaching makes me HUNGRY. But it was nothing that a quick trip to La Bodega couldn’t fix. Definitely my favorite sandwich-style-shop in town. Their almond-lemon chicken salad is to die for.

Teaching also makes me deliriously happy. Case in point:

yoga rocks the park

Clockwise from top left: me with YRP CLE organizers Emily and Andy, with some redhead I found, Zach rockin’ it out after class, hanging out with two special guests, and with the lovely representatives from lululemon athletica Eton Chagrin.

LONG STORY SHORT: Tremendously grateful.  Humbled.  Astonished. That was how I felt by 11:00AM – and to be honest, after all the classes I teach. It’s a joy to be a part of the Yoga Rocks the Park family and I hope I get to return to teach more sessions in the future. Thank you to everyone that attended on Saturday!

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  1. Deanna says:

    Aww thanks for the shout-out! Looking forward to attending the next yoga event you teach!!

  2. Alicia says:

    Bummed I missed it! Love that gym though. I practiced there about a month ago with Yoga Rocks the Park. Takes me back to middle school…wish we did yoga then! Congrats on yet another awesome accomplishment lady!

  3. Leslie Lynn says:

    Did it rain? I was just curious why it wasn’t in a park? or did I miss that?
    I thank you for sharing your story!!!

    • Alicia at Poise in Parma says:

      Hi Leslie Lynn: It did rain on Saturday morning, which is why we became “Yoga Rocks the Gym” instead of the park! I appreciate you stopping by and reading my thoughts!!

  4. Chris says:

    Loved the class Alicia! Even as a beginner, I felt very comfortable in the class. Great music, great energy, and great pacing. Can’t wait to do it again!

  5. Jess @JAMinCLE says:

    What an awesome turnout! Rain or shine! I’d love to attend the next one if I can. I like the “smile your way through a sentence.” That’s a good one 🙂

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