Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Thank You Series ~ Class 1

I went to bed late on Saturday and got up early on Sunday. Class wasn't until 11am, but I was probably up at about 7:30am after going to bed at about 1:45am. I was nervous. Although yoga teacher training wasn't that long ago, sometimes it feels like eons. My folks in my YTT sangha have moved on and although we keep in touch on Facebook it's surely not the same as waking up to their faces daily. I'm still adjusting.

Sunday morning I got up and went through my whole class by myself. I went through the whole hour and change in hope of being clearer with whomever was going to show up that day. I had no idea and no expectations. I'm working hard not to bring my same thought patterns to the yoga side of my life that I sometimes bring to music side, which is, everyone says yes and then no one shows up. I know that sounds strange so say if you have been to one of my shows because people do show up. They show up all the time, but I have to admit the fear that sits down under the surface that no one will show. But today I knew that one person would show and that was Rachel from Hip Dhamma. We had been talking about me coming on teach at the studio. So she was coming so I could "audition." No pressure. Right!!

As it got closer to the time to head to Freebrook Spaces where my classes are being held I did my best to calm down. I had no idea what I was going to walk in to. I mean of course I had some idea, but this was really new territory. I kept thinking about what my teacher Devarshi would say, "If your heart is pounding then you must raise your hand and say something." My heart was surely pounding and teaching the class was like raising my hand. I was saying yes.

One of the best things about teaching at Freebrook is that it's right near my house so I can walk there. It was such a great feeling to be able to take that walk and have a moment to meditate and settle down a bit before I got there. I realized on my walk that I forgot a couple of things like sage to clear the space and my comp list. As you know, these are my Thank You classes. So some folks are getting class for free, some for $5 and anyone else who just drops in it's $10. It's ok. Breathe Shelley. No worries.

When I arrived at the school (Freebrook is a school during the week) DeeArah, who helped me book the space, was there cleaning up a bit. Let me tell you a bit about Freebrook. It was once somebody’s mansion so the place is huge and grand. They actually filmed Boardwalk Empire there a couple of times. Surely there are still some spirits up in there. As you enter the front door and walk into the foyer it is all dark wood; the walls, floors and the staircase. There are two big rooms on the ground floor and also a kitchen and some other smaller rooms. Then on the second floor there are more rooms, nooks and crannies that I have yet to explore. My class is in one of the smaller rooms at the top of right staircase. Yes the staircase splits in two. I told you it was majestic.

I really like the room on the second floor. There is lots of sun and it’s cozy. DeeArah gave me the lay of the land a bit and then I tried to get myself situated.

 Soon Rachel arrived. She is one of the women who run Hip Dhamma, the yoga studio that usually runs out of Freebrook. She was kind enough to let me use her props for class, which was a blessing. I can see that the Hip Dhamma crew are really about community building and I love that it is through movement. Luckily when she came she had some sage with her so I was able to smudge the room. We talked for a while and then she went to take care of some other business before class.

I had a feeling that it might just be Rachel and I that day, but just before class was about to begin my friend Calia showed up. Yeah! I was more than ready to teach one, but two was great! I showed Calia upstairs and then we began pretty much right away. I wasn’t sure what happened to Rachel, but she showed up right after the sound of OM.

Did I say I was nervous? I know I was in my head a lot in class. There were things that I should have said before taking people into certain postures and I talked about a couple of contraindications after we had already done a pose, which doesn’t help at that point, but I know the nerves will wear off after a while. I’m still getting my feet on the ground after all.

For this first week of the series since it is on giving thanks, I asked the class to focus on their breath and give thanks for the in breath and out breath. In short, give thanks for every moment. As I moved through teaching my first class outside of school I really missed the faces of my sangha. We got so much reinforcement from each other while in school, but out here you never know what you will get. Well, I was moving along quite nicely when I looked at the time and realized that I still had a lot left and I had done everything I planned! OK, time to think on my toes. I had to go through my mental Rolodex of asanas and pull something out of the sky. Of course it all worked out and as my YTT crew would say, nobody died. LOL!

I guess I did well at my audition because I got a call back to teach at Hip Dhamma and Calia said she had a great time and really enjoyed the breath work. I think the breath is most important in yoga. A lot of studios don’t focus on that a lot, but you can’t do anything if you don’t have your breath and we take it for granted daily, really almost every moment. Remember your breath. If you think about it, it’s really what’s holding you together.

After class I chatted with DeeArah for a bit and talked some about my future classes. I made $10 that day. I decided in the spirit of it being Sunday and in the spirit of really taking this on as a business I paid myself first aka I made a tithe to myself. I put $1 or 10% of my earnings in my savings account. I know it may not seem like much, but how often do we not take care of ourselves first especially on the financial front.

I should have taken photo of Rachel, Calia and I, but I was totally buzzing. I will have a photo of the next folks to come to class, which is this Sunday at 11am. I hope to see some of you there.

My yoga practice has taught me so much, but I am still walking hard with my niyama of Ishvar-Pranidhana. Surrender. Surrender to what the Universe has for me. Be open and say yes. Thank you all so much for saying yes to me.

Jai Bhagwan!

Sovereign Hands Yoga: The Thank You Series 
@ Freebrook Spaces 
375 Stuyvesant Avenue b/w Decatur & Bainbridge Sts.
Brooklyn, NY
Sundays Dec. 9th & 16th 
[If you have a mat please bring it with you. If not, there are a few mats for use.]
By Train: A/C to Utica Avenue

Contact, More info & Talk to Me
Twitter @sovereignhands
Check out Hip Dhamma Too!!


  1. I love this, Shelley. And I love you. Thank you for doing this. It is a goal of mine to learn yoga from you.

  2. Ah Shelley. What a pleasure to read this and experience it with you. Thank you.
    Jai, missy!

  3. Thanks Tim & Deah! Love to you both! <3

  4. What a wonderful blog! I am so proud to know you! Keep inspiring me! My turn is coming soon, and my bff keeps telling me I should write a professional blog. Maybe I will. ;) Love you Shell! Jai!

  5. The above poster is KitKat (Kathy)

  6. Thanks Kathy! You should totally blog. :-)

  7. Yes! Surrender to the Breath!!! xoxo Katie

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