I’m also a student here. I’ve learned countless things from my students: new ways of adjustments, different ways of getting into and out of poses, and even different ways of instructing or clarifying things. Some of my students share how other teachers taught them something, or this video they saw of that new transition. If it’s not something applicable to our practice then I’ll explain and tell them so but mostly, they’re teaching me things I didn’t know and I’m very appreciative of it. When possible, I begin incorporating it in my own teaching.
Flexibility is important. And I don’t mean physical flexibility here. I mean flexibility in accepting feedback, in accepting circumstances. I can’t be too set in my ways. As an Ashtanga teacher, I have my sequence, I have the flow, I have the modifications but there are always students who come and teach you patience, who teach you resourcefulness to be able to accommodate their needs. It’s a great learning experience for me just as it is for them.
It’s okay to not know something. And it’s definitely better to admit you don’t know something than to venture a guess. I don’t know everything and when a student asks me something about a pose, an injury they have, or anything else that I don’t know or I forgot, I tell them that I’ll look at my notes, do my research and then come with an answer next class. This has taught me humbleness, honesty and it constantly increases my thirst for knowledge.
It’s okay to make cuing mistakes. I can’t even recall the number of times I said left foot instead of right, grab your toes instead of grab your elbows, and so many more! Just like what I tell a student who falls out of a balancing pose “take a breath and get back into it,” I do the same. I clarify and move on. It becomes part of the lifestyle.
My practice is also key. Simplest way to explain this is: “practice what you preach”. Yoga is one of those things that I believe need to come from the heart, not just a 200hr training, or even a 500hr training or more. It’s a practice that becomes a lifestyle and while it’s getting easier to sell the physical practice, it’s not so easy to sell the lifestyle, the concept, the philosophy. So it needs to come from the heart, from a place where you are already in yoga, a place where you’re a student who can relate to what your teaching, a place of truthfulness for a genuine approach to the practice.
Trust is beautiful. I first learned about unconditional trust from my niece. She absolutely loves doing acro yoga with me. The way she throws herself back, lets go completely, and trusts me fully, makes me want to rise to the occasion even more. It’s so amazing to witness. The same thing happens with my students. Many of them are out of their comfort zone, trying new poses, letting go of fear and I’m there for them and when we build that trust together where they know they can depend on me to safely help them into a pose or adjust them, it creates a beautiful bond, to me, unlike any other.
Thank you to everyone who gave yoga a try, who gave my classes a try, each and every one of you leaves a beautiful mark behind. Keep practicing, and all is coming :)