it has been nearly eight months since i taught my very first studio barre class (crazy how time flies, right?). and for the past eight months, at least five times a week, i have put on that britney mic and shouted out orders to a class of willing
victims clients for an hour at a time. advising ladies to pulse a little deeper, squeeze a little harder, and “don’t forget to breathe,” as they shoot me looks that could definitely kill in the reflection of the full-length mirror. i remember when i started, the other instructors assured me that with each passing class, things would get easier. managing the counts, and the clients’ names, and the choreography, and the music volume, and the lights, and the fans, and my own sanity would become second nature. like a well-oiled machine. i wouldn’t even think twice if i gave a miscue or skipped to the next song prematurely, i would simply amend the situation -probably make a joke about it -and simply move on.
i will say, there were a lot of missteps in the beginning. and that feeling of “second-nature” seemed infinitely far away. there were times when i just felt so ill-equipped to be in command of a room full of ladies relying on me for their hour-long workout.
but now eight months into my side gig, i can tell you that the original advice i received eventually rang true. sure, if a fellow instructor happens to be taking class that day, or listening on in the boutique just beyond the french doors of the studio, i’d be lying if i said i didn’t get the occasional little knot in my stomach when i prepare myself for “teacher mode.” but unlike the once crippling feelings of anxiousness and at times, flat out fear, i used to face in the first few moments of class, when i show up, i’m mostly ready to just have fun. i’ve even gained my fair share of “groupies” or clients who regularly show up for my scheduled class times. whether it be because they enjoy my teaching style or because i occupy a time slot time that works well with their schedules, i’m grateful to have built (and continuing building) this little community of women whose faces i get to see on a weekly basis, the ladies who put up with my torture, my silly jokes, my constant references to pop culture and food (hey, my class times are right around dinner time!).
when i accepted the offer to teach last july, i really wasn’t sure what to expect. i knew the new role would have its challenges and in the very least, i would be forced to step out of my oh-so-cozy comfort zone. and clearly that was terrifying. but in seeing the tangible growth that has occurred over the course of this journey (i sound like a contestant on the bachelor), i hope it’s not too vain to say that i’m quite proud of it all. when a client tells me “gosh, that was a hard class!” i get warm fuzzies. and when our owner tells me that she can sense a confidence in my voice when i teach, i think about that shy girl that hid under tables at restaurants and think, look how far she’s come.
aside from the extra money each month, or the perks of free classes and a discount at the boutique, i’m mostly just grateful. to get to do what i love and also pay it forward. to give back what this workout has given to me -a toned bod, a little slice of sanity, and a community of ladies who make working out one of the highlights of my day.2