Real Teachers, "Non-Real" Yoga: Learning to believe in myself by Susan Anderson
I am an aerial yoga teacher. I teach a hybrid form of yoga that for some people might seem so loosely related to any “real” type of yoga it should be called something else. It is the marriage of yoga and circus arts, an unlikely pairing. I fell into this position accidentally. I was a hobby aerialist who enjoyed practicing traditional forms of yoga. In August of 2015, a local yoga studio offered an aerial yoga teacher training. In truth, I signed on with the intention of using it as an immersion to complement my separate aerial and yoga practices, but also to take my mind off my mom’s serious health issues. On the last day of training, I was stunned to be offered a position to teach. I hesitated. No, I panicked. Then, I hesitated. Eventually, I accepted. And, I have been teaching consistently ever since.
While I greatly enjoyed the practice, I somehow felt lesser as a teacher compared to other teachers at the studio. It was as though I was looking for some validation because of the type of yoga I was offering. After a year of teaching, I decided to take on a 200-hour yoga teacher training thinking that it may be what I needed to validate myself. It was helpful in many ways. I dove more deeply into many aspects of the yoga practice and it helped me hone my skills as a teacher. But, it wasn’t the solution for my perceived shortcomings as an instructor. What I didn’t realize was the answer had already been coming but so slowly I was missing it. My perception of what I was as a teacher was my limitation and the more I continued to show up to the best of my ability, the more I started to see real change in myself as teacher and practitioner. It was transformational. This then translated to students who came through the door.
I came to the realization that, while there is still much for me to learn, I had much to offer, and I should not shy away from that with excuses. I believe in the aerial yoga practice. I feel it is a legitimate and “real” form of yoga. Maintaining focus on the breath and moving with intention can bring about a positive difference regardless of the type of practice. Students were delighted to see the offerings honor the more traditional forms but add a different perspective. They felt supported in familiar poses and that allowed them to explore the postures more deeply. The tactile use of the aerial hammock helped quiet the chatter in their minds. I began having a steady flow of students who entrusted me to be there as they stepped out of their comfort zones. Upon realizing my role as a guide, I was able to place aside my ego and clear away the thoughts of what I was or wasn’t. It allowed me to authentically step into this role more confidently to help effect real change in the students who came to practice. I simply needed to believe in myself first before others believed in me.
Susan discovered yoga shortly after beginning aerial circus training. Yoga provided the perfect complement to the rigorous aerial training and helped her balance body and mind. While weaving in and out of both practices separately for a few years, eventually they merged, leading her to aerial yoga. She received her 50-hour aerial yoga teaching certificate in August of 2015 through Om Factory in New York City. Her classes blend yoga asana and conditioning with playful movement while safely utilizing the aerial hammock. She complete her 200-hour teacher training at Boundless Yoga Studio and is currently completing her 300-hr Advanced Studies Program at Boundless. In addition to teaching aerial yoga, she also teaches classes in aerial fabric and is a mother to five amazing children.
Study with Susan!
Aerial Yoga Teacher Training
Dates: June 15, 16, 17 and June 29, 30 and July 1 (2 weekends) at the Boundless Yoga Studio Mt. Pocono Location
Boundless Yoga Studio offers weekly Aerial Yoga Classes
Mondays 7:15 pm w/ Kate Deangelo
Wednesdays at 11am w/ Linnette Gomez
Saturdays at 11 am w/ Brian Davis
10/18/2022 03:42:54 pm
It was helpful in many ways. I dove more deeply into many aspects of the yoga practice and it helped me hone my skills as a teacher. But, it wasn’t the solution for my perceived shortcomings as an instructor. Thank you for taking the time to write a great post!
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Boundless Yoga Staff & Students
We are continuously interested on how our reactions and responses to our personal journeys, albeit travel, adventure, new job, etc. mirror and reflect our social, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. We try every day to apply what we learn about ourselves on the yoga mat to our personal lives. Thank you for tuning in as we share some of those aspects with you.