Freestyle Fitness Yoga Elite Instructor - March 2016
I was recently reading through some old blog posts I had written and this one caught my attention (http://www.hopefitness.co.uk/classes/fitness-yoga/the-start-of-my-freestyle-fitness-yoga-journey/) from way back three years ago when I qualified to become an FFY instructor in the first place. Reading it again has made me realise how far I've come as an instructor.
I had completely erased the trauma I felt heading back home on the train after that second workshop day - I was exhausted and in pain. I still get that pain, every Tuesday morning after the previous night's class, even after three years. This is the beauty of the class for me. It never gets easy. You can always go a little bit further, push a little bit deeper.
As I resolved to do on that journey home, I practiced...and practiced...and practiced a little bit more. There was no way I could teach a class to the public until I had mastered the tricep dip, hold the lunge with good, no...great form, and speak while flowing through the sun salutation.
Finally with venue and class prepared I offered a few free classes to friends, to get the ball rolling and build my confidence. It was scary! My mouth was always dry, I tripped over my words, got my left and rights in a pickle (nothing changes!) but I had very positive feedback and people seemed keen to continue participating and learning from me.
I quickly learnt that the class was a little bit "marmite". You loved it or you hated it. Those that loved it, really loved it. Otherwise my client retention was terrible, often demoralising, and if teaching the classes wasn't so beneficial to my personal fitness, I would have given up long ago!
Within that first year I picked up some very loyal followers, who are still regularly participating in classes today. The class attendance grew and I found a new, more convenient venue that allowed me to teach the class through school holidays. I also added another class to the timetable.
To say the new Thursday morning class was a slow-burner is an understatement! The first class I had zero participants - and I spent the hour playing around taking photos and videos of myself doing some of the postures (after all I had paid for the hall). After 6 months I was still teaching an average of three people per session and was ready to drop it. Then at the turn of the season it changed slightly and on a good day it was more like 6 - worth sticking to a little bit longer. 6 was almost the perfect number, it was fun. We laughed and chatted our way through class and I became friends with some lovely people over a shared love of yoga.
Last year was a strange year for me personally. I completed the London Marathon for the second time and, exactly as it did first time round, it completely destroyed my spirit (which is a whole other blog post!!). What I did gain was what a friend affectionately calls "thighs of steel". The running trashed my hips and knees but man, could I hold those warrior lunges forever!
My confidence as an instructor began to grow as I felt my own yoga practice improve. I realised that the more "me" I was, the better the class was. Not because of my ego but because being "me" ensured that I was relaxed and comfortable teaching the class so I enjoyed it more and therefore others enjoyed it more and my style of teaching. Then as if by magic, my client retention improved by 100%.
This year has been great so far and I've never looked back. And three years on I have proved my worth and have now become an "Freestyle Fitness Yoga Elite Instructor", the next chapter in my journey. Maybe it's time to build up another class?
My next goal (other than the indefinite crow of course)...I took a course in May to become an iMoveFreely instructor, expanding my knowledge of intrinsic biomechanics, using a series of movement techniques. As well as adding a new edge to my class, this will also work as a standalone clinic to help alleviate low-grade pain most of us experience on a regular basis.