My favorite student is not one that came to my class and knew everything right off the bat. They did not have a smug smile as they stepped on their mat, thinking, “I am going to rock this class, people!”
Instead, they looked nervous and intimidated. In fact, they wondered what in the heck they just signed up for.
My favorite student does not come equipped with the fanciest yoga clothes, but take their first few weeks of classes dressed in what they already own, whether it be running shorts or an old pair of capris or a favorite tank top they always wore to the gym. Months, maybe years later, they daringly purchase something that can only be worn to yoga class, investing in their practice with a carefree glee, that they might actually be what people call a, “yogi.”
My favorite student hates me at first.
They think I am too loud, over enthusiastic, and hold the postures too long. They think I am something to be tolerated, much like the arm balance or back bend they hate to approach.
My favorite student doesn’t know that I see them in my mind’s eye a year from now, happier and healthier than they have ever been and that every time I correct them or push them, I am simply walking them closer to their goals, whatever they may be.
My favorite student skates into class at the last second and then, when it's over, pops up immediately, moving on to the next thing as quickly as possible.
Over time they arrive earlier and earlier and leave later and later, wanting to stay in Savasana before and after class and spend time with their own thoughts, or chat with me and the other students that they practice with day after day. They are part of the community and want to share time with everyone else involved, including themselves.
My favorite student is embarrassed when I tell them how wonderful their practice looked on a certain day and shake their heads in disbelief, thinking I’m an absolute nutcase and that I obviously confused them with someone else. Then one day I tell them how great they are doing and they nod, flash me a huge smile and say, “Thanks! I had a great class!”
My favorite student shows up for a class, not for a journey, but years later look back and see how much they’ve traveled in the 2’x7’ space that comprises their yoga mat.
They might have shown up because they heard the yoga can help with their injuries, can help with their anxiety, or can help with them achieve a yoga butt, but they now know that the yoga can do much more than that. They now know you simply have to get on the mat, day after day, and do their yoga.
Tori Hicks-Glogowski is an online yoga instructor and yoga business coach and mentor for yoga teachers. She is the author of the book, "Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi," and has been writing and sharing her yoga experience for the past seven years. Find out more about Tori now.