I’ve been teaching yoga almost every single day for a bit over 4 years now. When you start teacher training you want a black and white answer for everything. We live by the questions:”What is the right way?” and “What is the wrong way?” of doing xyz. I’ve learned with time, that really, not everything is as black or white as we want it to be. For example the “right way” to do “Chair Pose or Utkatasana” really used to trip me up. I wanted to teach my students the “right way.” I wanted to have the answer if they ever questioned it. The answer to this depends on the lineage of yoga that you are practicing at that time. It depends on your anatomy, your body structure, your current state of wellness. There are different ways of doing something, you just have to find the one that works best for you logically and physically.
In order for you to inspire others, you have to fuel that same desire within yourself. There are many points throughout your teaching journey where you become bored with you’re cues, your sequences, your music, etc. You start craving new knowledge, new information, so you register for a workshop or a training. You go into this session to better yourself both as a student and a teacher.
I love learning new tips and tricks. I used to come home and just spit them right back out. This was partially due to the excitement over something new. I don’t think anything is wrong with that, but recently I’ve been feeling differently..
I’ve been taking a few Ashtanga Intensives, and I love how deeply rooted and ancient the practice is. As I open to it, I’m breaking down my own mental barriers, especially the physical. I know I’m at the beginning of seeing how the method of practice works. Even though this practice is so rooted, I still find myself questioning certain methodologies. Some things instantly resonate when I hear them. They make sense. Other things I have to take some time to think about. Breath ques are a little different between teachers. Foot placement is a little different. There are little nuances that vary from teacher to teacher. Typically in Ashtanga you only have one teacher. Maybe those students never experience the little differences. I wouldn’t know…being from the middle of NJ I’m lucky if I can make it into NYC to take a class!
I love what I am learning and I love that I am now confident enough to question it. I don’t mean questioning the system in its entirety, I mean really looking at the different ways of doing things within the system as a whole. I’m forming my own opinion, or at least thinking about it, rather than simply accepting what I’m told. Maybe after thinking, I’ll agree or I’ll feel differently, but at least I took the time to truly reflect. I’m speaking generally about the physical portion of yoga right now. Physical tips, cues, poses, and methods that can be shared from teacher to student.
Now, as I learn new information, I don’t just regurgitate it. I sit with it, study it, question it, and actually ask myself what I think about it. Does this make sense to me? Does this method make sense in general? Is it personal preference? What are the benefits of doing it a particular way? When you really take a moment to reflect before teaching what you’ve just learned…it’s pretty empowering.
Teaching from your own experience is the only thing that is unique to you. It is the only thing that will appear natural and rooted. You can share what you’ve learned from others, but your experience with that learned information is more valuable. This is why doing the work is so important! I challenge you to take what you learn, go home, and really reflect on it before you share it.