Advancing your practice / Alignment / For beginners

Confessions of a yoga teacher

Here goes:

There are poses I can’t do.  There are poses you can do, brand-spanking-new to yoga, that I cannot do.

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This should not be earth-shattering news.  But it still might surprise some students.

When we are ready to walk into a studio and be guided by another person, we are handing ourselves over in their care, with trust. That trust comes with assumptions, assumptions that the teacher knows better, knows more.  That they are an expert and can be ready with answers whenever we have questions.  There is heavy weight to that sacred and lovely trust a student can place in a teacher.  I know I’ve put that same trust in my own teachers, and often still do.

But just as you and I can’t possibly know and understand everything, neither can our teachers.

No one single human being can be the ultimate authority for your yoga practice.

Because I want my students to feel safe, I want to honor the trust they give me.  I want to know as much as I can, and be a ready guide for those who want to know more!

When there is something I don’t know, or can’t do, I feel inadequate; as if I am failing to meet my students’ trusting expectations.

I am beginning to see how silly this is.  How will my feelings of inadequacy make me a more present, loving, and knowledgeable teacher?  My fears are carried in my teacher toolbox, but as tools they do not serve me or my students.  They simply add unnecessary weight.  If I cannot share handstand or a flying pigeon or a jump-back to crow right now, there are still many things I can (and do!) share with my amazing students.  If I want to do a handstand, then what should I do?  Practice, practice practice.  (Duh.)  And in the meantime, if my students want to learn a handstand, there are many other teachers who can lovingly guide them through that! (And then they can practice, practice, practice!)

This quote from Raghunath at a workshop I attended last Saturday was a nice reminder on how unimportant, in the grand scheme of yoga, doing “advanced” postures really is:

You could get into handstand in the middle of the room with a lotus and still be a jerk.

gunas

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One thought on “Confessions of a yoga teacher

  1. Pingback: Yoga Block | Accidental Buddhism

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