Sunday, February 26, 2012

The gifts of teaching

There are so many cool things about teaching Yoga. One of which is when your students teach you. I, for one, don't think of myself as a "teacher" but as more of a guide. I unfortunately wasn't born into being a mind reader even though I try as hard as I can to read people's energy while teaching class. I want to know that everyone is having a good time and feeling generally pleasant or at least neutral. That everyone is getting what they want out of the class. I don't want to distract people from their meditative state. By trying to read people's energy I always get a better idea of how the class can flow. Like when people are sweating hard and looking like they might be struggling I will say "skip the vinyasa if you like this round" or "if you want to skip a chattarunga do knees, chest, chin", but then the whole room is still doing chattarunga and powering through it...then I'll wait a couple of poses before child's pose.

My favorite type of students are those who have been practicing for a long time but show up to class and often do their own thing. They don't do all the poses I call out, and have their own variations. I appreciate this. And if I've never taught them before I sometimes wonder, "do they hate this class? is it too slow for them?"...when they come back I realize they're just in their own practice. Often they're my guide to teaching. They set the pace and the breath even if they're doing something different or more advanced. Its great to have this kind of Yogi in class because it sets a rhythm for the beginners.

Beginners teach me to use clearer language. If they're not doing what I said or something different its probably because I said it in a way they don't understand. This helps me to find the right language and better guide them through finding their body awareness.

Thank you to all my Yoga students for keeping me going and teaching me something too!

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