My first experience applying at a yoga studio

As I entered the studio in my normal day to day wear, i was welcomed by one of the yoga teachers. I recognized him from the videoclips on the website. In my best Spanish I said that I was a little early and he replied that everybody will be coming soon.

I wasn’t sure what he meant with ‘everybody’ or if I didn’t understand him well enough. That’s actually a question I ask myself more than 10 time a day when talking Spanish with the people here.

A few moments later another girl entered in her tight yoga outfit. I thought that must be the woman I’ve been emailing with and will have a conversation with. And so I introduced myself. But then I saw her introducing herself to the teacher as well and I realised, I wasn’t the only one who came for the job interview.

The teacher then asked me if I brought ropa para practicar de yoga posturas. It was clear. I wasn’t informed well. And no I didn’t bring my ropa para practicar. Because I thought this would be a talk meeting.

In the meanwhile more candidates entered. Giving each other, the teacher and manager, who just arrived as well, hugs and kisses and introducing themselves to each other. All in yoga leggings and sports bras.

The teacher explained we will only be doing some yoga postures and then we will have a talk. I told him I was sorry that I didn’t wear the right clothes. In my head I realised I couldn’t have known this and my apology was a social thing to do. I was trying to get in favour with the teacher leading this bunch or applicants.

So I took of my shoes and socks.I put my cv on the counter which also held a paper with some testimonials from my students and my certificate I received for doing the teacher training in Rishikesh. All my worth right there on the counter. Luckily under my blouse I wore a tight sleeveless shirt. A bit more comfortable to do the poses.

Face to face with my competition

We all took a mat and found a place in the studio. I looked at myself in the mirror as more candidates rolled out their mat. I couldn’t help but feel the competition rising. Girls fake smiling at each other, starting to stretch out their legs and arms, looking at each other and looking at themselves through the big mirror. in front of us. Even if I wanted to warm up I couldn’t because my Levis 501 had no stretch or whatsoever.

We all wanted the same. We were all there to do the same. We were competition.

Something I never experienced before when practicing yoga. Not in studios and not during teacher training. It was all love and focused on your inner being. There was no right or wrong, no good or bad. But now it felt like we were about the perform our best yoga poses in front of a jury.

I felt like running through the exit door, home, away from that place. I felt so out of touch with what yoga has always been for me. I felt so far away from what I want to share to the world. I felt that this was so, so wrong. What was the safest way to exit? How could i make this less painful and done faster?

The manager and the teacher both introduced themselves, now it was our turn. One by one the students stood up and told something about themselves. It was clear, their Spanish was way better than mine. In my head i rehearsed my lines quickly. I stood up, my heart in my throat and said my name where I came from and that I was living here now since 6 months. I said where I had done my training, that I’m teaching for 6 months now and that I love strength training in combination with yoga.

Phew, that part went pretty good. Happy that’s over.

 

Not my style 

We started with 3 rounds of Kapalbhati breath. A bit much, a bit too quick and a bit unnecessary. But ok. Then we were asked to come into table top position and from there to downward facing dog. 2 types of sun salutations A and B. And thereafter it was up to all us, the 11 candidates, to give it a shot. I realised just there and then that we had to demonstrate a posture and teach it to the class. One by one the candidates came forward gave it their best shot. My head was racing and up until the point when it was my turn, I had no idea what posture I wanted to do. Let alone how to explain it in Spanish.

I was the second last. So I did have some time to create more chaos in my head and more nerves in my body. Great. I walked towards the mat in front of the group and decided that I wanted to do chairpose aka utkatasana. One of my favs to teach. Because students work their legs and burn them until I say to release that’s just cool. I started my standing in mountain pose and prepare with a couple of deep inhales and exhales. Just because I needed them. I needed them so hard in this moment to clear my head and to find the words to cue. I gave it my best shot cued the candidates while in utkatasana to lift up their toes. I smiled walked and after a few breaths told them to fold forward and exhale inhale half way up exhale forward, inhale al. the. way. up. exhale hands to your heart. Because I love it like that. I like to teach in a flow. I like to breath and connect with my breath. That is me. And that reminder right there was so precious. After that, for a few minutes, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Circle interview 

We were asked to come and sit in a circle, the teacher and manager explained to us about the studio’s and contract and the candidates tried to look interested and nodding their head enthusiastically and laughing dramatically with every small joke.

I felt I was present and following the conversations in that moment. I felt I was just not there, couldn’t follow a word. I felt resentful and proud. At times I felt connected from the deepest of my heart to the people around me, but a second later I was so confused with who I was and what I was doing there. all at the same time.

As we closed the circle meeting. The teacher had some advice for ‘us’. That in the future always show up in your yoga clothes. Because we are yoga teachers right? No jackets and jeans allowed. Of course he was addressing me. I smiled politely but didn’t agree with his remark. I’m more than a yoga teacher. I like jeans, I like jackets, I like dressing up formally for an interview. For a diner, for going out with friends. I like chilling the whole day in my pjs too. I like graphic design, I like to write, I like to take photographs, I like to interview people on topics that interest me. And yes I like to create a safe space where everybody is welcome to practice the great art that’s called yoga.

 

Is this for me?

We rolled up our mats, small groups were being formed. I took a moment to reconnect and therefor went to the bathroom. Deep inhale, deep exhale.
I put on my shoes, shook hands with the teacher and kissed the manager goodbye with 2 kisses on the cheeks. How they do it in Spain. The candidates left.

For a second I wondered if they felt the same. Confused. I wondered if this was what they really wanted. I wondered if they knew more than I had known before. I wondered if I would say yes if the job was offered to me. Although I’m quite sure it won’t. In that moment I don’t think the teacher and manager saw something personal about me. I realised a lot about what I don’t want, I learned a lot about what I got that I so dearly love. I learned a lot that I am creating my own studio in my own way by my own rules. And I was happy that in the end i didn’t run out, that i stayed followed to the best of my abilities and had some fun. I felt vulnerable, my heart was completely open but i was safe. Because I was there to guide myself through this process. with my hand on my heart.

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What yoga is for me

I honestly still don’t know and I’m still in the process of finding the answers. Maybe there is not one answer, or any, but I know I want to listen better to this voice and feel more of this feeling that I feel in my gut that I’m not sure of what it is.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can - Arthur Ashe