I’ve been in training for 41 years. I have been studying, re-calibrating, working off intuition and learning from the very best. Through hours and hours of literal blood, sweat and tears. I was born to teach movement. I started at the age 4 in dancing. Following every word and action (or at least that’s how I remember it) of my dance teacher. The competitive scene was much different in the 80s – much less intense, most likely because the dance industry was so much smaller. But we loved it and we pushed on. I left dancing at 19 as my group disbanded and we all went off to University. A bit shell shocked the first year with nowhere to put my excess energy, I tried an adult ballet class, I tried Tai Chi and then my roommate introduced me to strength training. I didn’t love it, but I was moving and sweating so it was something. What I did love, was most nights of the week heading out for whatever DJ was being featured or rave anywhere and dancing my ass off for hours on end. I even danced on stage for a techno band “Positronic Brain” popular in Toronto circa 1995. Somewhere among this I graduated, moved back to Toronto and settled into trying to lead some sort of “grown up” life. I joined GoodLife in 2000, started doing BodyPump – finally I found something I loved only to be replaced 6 months later by something I loved even more – BodyFlow, less than 6 months after that I started to teach. When I teach, it’s not only the movement, the alignment, what comes next. When I teach it is from the depths of my soul and bottom of my heart. The cues I use, the silence I provide are all to invoke how crucially important movement is to every fibre of my being – and to inspire that same love in others.
Without fully understanding or appreciating it until now – now because I literally can’t do the very thing I was born to do. Or sorry, I can but missing out on the very thing my teaching relies upon – the physical presence of my students. Connecting, pivoting and adding small corrections with simple eye contact. What I can do is teach blankly to a screen. I can go through the warm-up, work out and mobility sections. I can create a visual experience with impeccable alignment and perfectly manicured cues. I can even work out. I can create my own workouts. I can follow the workouts of the very best in the industry and whenever I want without rushing to class or even worrying about getting dressed. Teaching is so very much more. There is an energy exchange when you teach that is experienced with such a strong dopamine surge, I can live off the high for days. The bigger the class or the production, the bigger the high and is my biggest struggle right now – not knowing when I will get my next fix.
That being said, I savour every connection I have. I am grateful every day for the technology to deliver what I can via video and live feed. I have found my most profound experiences with my students to be in meditation, when I hold their presence in my heart and speak from my soul. I am grateful for the dedication of all the people holding our industry together by whatever threads can be found. We will make it through because we are resilient. We persevere through the biggest challenges and we are tougher than the tough because we let our vulnerability shine through. As much as we need our students, I have faith they need us just as much. Somehow, someway we will be together again.
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Author: Lisa Greenbaum