I'm in the midst of my next YJ article, so I've been a bit quiet (not to mention, lax in my daily Up Dog). I've enjoyed my interviews, tho, as this is a subject near and dear to my heart: Teaching Yoga at a Gym.
There is often the implication (from YJ, among other places), that the ideal place to teach and practice yoga is at a studio. That was even my attitude, back in DC, where the studios I went to were much more dedicated to the practice than the gyms (not that the gym experiences were bad, but they were a lot more generic). I wanted to write a piece that would show the benefits of teaching at a gym (variety of students, steady income), drawbacks to avoid (loud practice spaces, workout mentality) and suggest ways to make it pleasant employment.
I've been teaching at the Y for almost five years now, and I like to think that the yoga experience my students get is very similar to one they would get at most studios. I've found us a quiet space in the unused dance studio (lovely wooden floors) and I have a nice stash of props. The Y is very accomodating when I wanted to add new classes or try new themes; it's been a wonderful steady gig.
And, as several of my interviewees have stressed, at the start of every session there is at least one student new to yoga. Being some one's first yoga teacher is such an honor, with such great responsibility--you could make them fall in love, or you could drive them away forever. But it's so cool to be the yoga ambassador to these students and there is nothing more satisfying that watching some one become a "true-believer" during the course of a class. Usually with shoulder-openers (at least, that's what won me over).
So, I wanted show new teachers that all the wonderful enlightening they are ready to do upon completing a training could happen at a gym. Yoga is yoga, wherever it happens--as long as the intention is good, it will be a worthwhile experience for both student and instructor. Plus, the locker rooms are usually bigger...hello sauna.