I don’t know about anyone else who is going through / went through teacher training, but it is interesting to me that there are SO many different viewpoints. Some yogis believe that anyone can teach yoga (and actually should not get certified) because yoga is such a personal experience. Some teachers give the direction that you should keep directing students with their breath, so that they focus on it. Others say that including breath direction is too many words. Some say to create a sequence and to stick with that one sequence for the first year or so of teaching. You should not get bored teaching the same sequence (because you are a YOGI gosh dang it) and your students should not get bored practicing it because they need it and it helps them build strength. Others take the more varied approach.
For instance, today in Gwen’s class, we did peacock pose. For those who care – Mayurasana.This pose is a little nuts. You get into it by:
- kneel/crouch on the floor
- holding your arms in front of you, elbows bent, palms up
- place your hands on the floor in front of you, fingers pointing towards your feet, keeping the forearms and hands less than torso width apart
- put your weight onto your hands
- engage your core
- squeeze your legs together and lift them off the ground
It looks impossible. Legitimately impossible. But, you know what? It is not. I ALMOST got it. Not that I am saying I am amazing or anything, I am not. I just want to point out that you can learn to do things when you already have the alignment and strength down. I agree 100% that people cannot just jump into poses safely and that new teachers should not be teaching potentially super-dangerous poses. However, I do think that once you have the experience and knowledge of your students enough, that it is great to challenge their bodies as well as their minds.
Personally, I find a new level of focus and lack of thought when I am struggling in a particularly difficult pose. The part that REALLY helps me in life is that I struggle through difficult poses / sequences in yoga (whether it is a large number of sun salutations, or a pose I think is impossible). When you are spitting in gravity’s face on a regular basis, problems at work seem like nothing. Well, maybe not nothing, but less awful than they did before.
So, I think what I am trying to say here is that, when you are teaching, take your favorite parts from each teacher and ignore the parts that do not resonate with you. Unless, of course, the part that does not resonate with you is, “Give your students the tools to help them keep their practice safe.” That’s an important one. But, once you feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough about tougher poses – go ahead! Just be present, be observant, and take care to keep your students as safe as possible.
I left the picture of peacock pose until the end, because in my searching for a picture of it, I got so distracted by the beauty of Rafael Lazzini (the hot Brazilian doing yoga below) that I forgot that I was writing a post. If you can believe it, he looks even better in his other pictures. Google him. You’re welcome.