There are some interesting parallels that I have discovered through teaching yoga and performing stand-up. I knew that the two hobbies had some overlap already. I am fairly good at public speaking. I can speak clearly and loudly. I know how to describe things in a way that people can follow. All of these things are important skills in both fields.
But what I hadn’t thought about being similar is the development process. When I was a new teacher, I had a sequence that I had to practice and that I was supposed to teach at least 9 times before I would be certified. The reason is that by repeatedly practicing and teaching the same sequence you come to know it by heart. And once you know the sequence by heart you remove the worry around “what comes next?” You can just keep teaching because you know what comes next.
I remember I got really bored with this sequence. It got to be mundane. I wanted to teach new and interesting things so that students would enjoy my classes more. I couldn’t wait to start sequencing on my own.
The thing is, I feel like I am only now starting to sequence in interesting and creative ways. I just passed my “E-RYT” certification which means I have taught more than 1000 hours of yoga. So it took about 990 hours of practice to get really good at creating my own sequence.
I see the same thing happening in the comedy world. Through my class at DC Improv I developed a 5 minute set. Our instructor encouraged us to keep working with this set. Memorize it. Refine it. Make it better and take some of the worry of “what comes next” out of performing.
But similarly to how I felt about my assigned sequence in yoga, I started to feel like I needed to develop new material for comedy. I needed to keep my act fresh and keep it interesting. I couldn’t just be a girl doing jokes about yoga. No one would be impressed with that.
The problem is I haven’t refined my skills in comedy enough to create more content yet. I keep falling into the trap of getting ahead of myself. I think a lot of us do this. We want to be good at the thing we see others doing right now! Ignoring that those people we see and admire put in their 1000 hours to get to the place where they are now.
Patience friends. Patience is my struggle.
The good thing is that I have learned this lesson already from my yoga teaching journey. I can apply some of this learning to my comedic journey. I am trying to find a middle ground. I work on a new joke or two in my otherwise established set.
The content I feel confident in can always improve. Just like I will never be done learning how to be a better yoga teacher. New content can get worked out from a solid foundation. Just like when I introduce a new pose within the sequencing shell that I use, it allows me to work from a more comfortable place. I have to be patient with myself and know that with the time dedicated I will get better.