How many students does a yoga class make?

Photo: lululemon

It was 7:43 am and I was standing alone in the studio staring at the clock. Should I take away the sign in sheet? I wondered. I shuffled some papers around the front desk and then looked up at the clock again: 7:44 am. My morning class was supposed to start in one minute and no one was here. I would not be disappointed by this, I reminded myself. This is how it works in a very small town. Though I had been teaching at this studio for a few months now and my other classes were starting to fill up, this early morning class had been a ‘test’ class on the new schedule, to see if anyone was interested in yoga before weekday working hours.

Apparently, they weren’t.

At 7:45 am I started a mental list of things that I could accomplish in my newly vacant hour. I reached over to put away the blank sign-in sheet, but just as I did so I heard a car door close outside. I glanced out the window to see my single dedicated early morning student rushing toward the studio. She was running late. I smiled and left the sign-in sheet on the front desk. After a quick mental calculation my brain reminded me that I could make more money not teaching this class than I would by teaching. I pushed the thought aside; it didn’t matter right now. This would be my last early morning class (unfortunately I do still have bills to pay), and I’d give this one student the yoga experience that she came for.

I experienced a moment of internal embarrassment in the opening moments of the class. Could I really call it a class with only one student? How many students does a yoga class make? The benefits for the student were clear: personalized attention and a chance to have the practice tailored for her, all for the cost of a regular yoga class. The benefits for me? Well, they certainly weren’t financial. But in a one-on-one setting, this student was more likely to ask questions and provide direct feedback; a valuable learning experience as a teacher.

In the final moments of the class, after the closing om and namaste, I glanced up at my single dedicated student and thanked her genuinely for coming to the class.

After all, a class of one is better than a class of none.

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The Best Way to Find Inspiration

Inspiration is a powerful thing. It can spur you to action in many ways, and can bring joy to your life; which is why I find myself looking for inspiration some days when I’m feeling lost and bogged down by everyday life. It can really be helpful to go to the online world and get inspired – there are so many great and inspiring blogs and websites out there these days. But what I’ve discovered over the past few years is that my best source of inspiration is my own life. Sounds a bit contradictory, doesn’t it? When things in my life are weighing down on me, I search a little deeper to find the inspiration in my life. But that’s exactly why it is so powerful. If I turn to others for inspiration, I may certainly get inspired, but I may also get a lot of other unwanted stuff along with my inspiration – more things that I want to buy, jealousy over what others have, and frustration about the things I can’t change in my life. On the other hand, by turning inward and recognizing that I can find inspiration in my own life, I might get some unexpected benefits – gratitude and perspective, for example. So while I do think that finding inspiration outside yourself can be valuable and is something I wouldn’t give up, the best way to find inspiration (whether that is for yoga classes, recipes, career choices, or anything) is to start by looking to your own life. What can you see there that inspires you? What can you imagine others being inspired by in your life? What are some changes that you’ve made in your life that you are proud of?

Some of my inspiring things:

I love to bake. I can hardly believe that something so pretty and yummy could be made by my two hands.

Cooking and eating healthy yummy food. It wasn’t that long ago that the only thing I could make for myself (and therefore often the only thing I ate) was pasta from a box. Seriously. My eating habits are better and I also appreciate food so much more these days. It actually tastes better too!

If I can do yoga, then I can do anything. Enough said.

The beauty of nature: not everyone is as lucky as I am to live in such an amazing, gorgeous place. But there is always beauty to be found somewhere, no matter where you are. Even when I’m in cities I collect a list of beautiful spots in my mind that I know I can return to; a tree lined street here, a park there, etc.