Which I first started teaching yoga, I would judge the worth and quality of my teaching skills by the numbers of students I had in my classes which in the beginning weren't very many at all. As time went on and I gained more confidence the sizes of my classes increased.
When I first opened up the studio 5 years ago there were many, many a day when only 1 or 2 students showed up for a class or non at all. This time I knew better, that this too shall pass, that it was part of the process of growing and learning. I gained more control over my ego regarding my teaching. If only one person showed up I saw it as an opportunity for both of us, giving and receiving the benefits of a private class.
Thankfully over time word spread of the many gifts that my wonderful teachers and myself have to offer the community which I am truly grateful for. My landlord is also grateful since I am able to pay my rent as well as my teachers! I have heard from students and teachers about their experiences at other studios or gyms that if only a few students showed up for class they would either cut the class short or cancel it all together. I don't get it, the teacher made the effort to show up and the students came because they needed a yoga class. Again I understand, as a business we have bills to pay but what kind of message does that send to the students?
Everyone once in a while I feel that I need to be reminded that it isn't always about the numbers, but how we can make a difference.
I subbed for one of my teachers last week who was out ill. She teaches the chair yoga class which usually doesn't have big numbers because it's such a speciality class. It's a few minutes before the start of class and no one has showed up yet. I start to close up and regroup the rest of my day in my head when in comes a student for the class. She apologizes for being late and when she realizes that she is the only one there, proceeds to get ready to leave. I assure her that the class will be held regardless.
We had a great time! She has MS and we were able to address those issues one on one. We shared a lively exchange of questions and answers and I showed her a few more things that she would be able to do at home in between classes. At the end of class, which flew by, she told me that she had dreamed of being able to do a private class one day and she couldn't believed that it had happened. She was just glowing. Students come to yoga because they need to. Teachers need to remember to teach with the same energy, love and dedication whether its one student or a full house. I needed to be reminded and humbled that it isn't always about the numbers, its about changing peoples lives, one student, one breath at a time....so don't forget to breathe.