Teaching Yoga – I

I’ve long thought about the role of the teacher or lecturer in psychology. That is no longer a part of my life so my thought have been diverted towards thinking about the role of the yoga teacher. As someone who started practicing yoga at home on her own and struggled to learn from books, I think I can attest for the need for an instructor when it comes to yoga. As much as it is a personal practice, yoga practitioner needs (at least) a second set of eyes to watch her journey closely. One practical reason for this is that it is very easy to do the asanas in a way that can result in short or long term injuries. The other reason is that like in any other learning process, one can lose her motivation and give up even due to the smallest of failures or simply due to laziness.

These two reasons played an important part in my decision to start going to public classes but also in my idea of the role of the yoga teacher. I expect my teacher to help me have a better understanding of the posture, the anatomy and the mind set necessary for a sophisticated practice and show me better ways to benefit from a particular sequence or asana. This thirst for understanding postures and yoga philosophy led me to start my yoga teacher training. I didn’t expect spiritual guidance, I didn’t expect to hear clever yet insincere words… all I wanted was to be taught how to learn better and more efficiently to be able to find my own path without injuring myself. As a yoga practitioner all I want is to cultivate the knowledge that will allow me to develop, customise and calibrate a sustainable yoga practice that balances my wishes and limitations at a given time in my life. This has become the general idea behind my teaching.

It’s been two weeks since I’ve started teaching two yoga introduction classes. I vaguely remember someone saying that in Mathematics, if one knows how to add, they could calculate anything. I am trying to teach them such simple, easy-to-remember rules of thumb that they can take as far away in their yoga practice as they need to and can use in more complex contexts when the time comes.

To conclude, I realised how easy it would have been to forget the initial struggle that I went through and to expect far too much to the point of putting people off yoga. My days where I didn’t know why I had to draw my shoulders away from my ears or didn’t really know how to breathe into my lower back are still not so far behind me. I believe the short time between starting to practice yoga regularly and starting to teach it is an advantage in my case – I can easily say ‘Trust me! I know what you’re going through’…

I also noticed immediately during these two weeks is that yoga introduction classes are the best places where a yoga teacher can advance her own practice. Like in other disciplines, trying to simplify everything sheds a different light. It is never a straight road with yoga; one keeps coming back to basics, fundamentals to explore deeper layers and to discover new sides to herself and to find peace in the familiar yet fresh environment.

Namaste,
Ebru

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