Sometimes less is more. I recently read the book, Teaching beyond the poses. As a teacher, I love a good theme and this book had great ideas for theming classes and a convenient framework for planning themed classes. But, I think the most valuable aspect of the book was the journaling prompts.
This was my response to the most helpful one:
“Three words that sum up my intention as a yoga teacher: Empower. Co-create. Journey.”
The hardest part was limiting myself to three words. I wrestled with that, but from the struggle emerged these words that encompass my heart in planning and guiding classes.
Through the practice I intend for my students to feel empowered that they can do anything they set their mind to. If the mind conceives it and the heart believes it, it’s yours. I want to create a safe space where students are empowered to try something new, even if it’s a baby step that day. Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you land among the stars. Ultimately, I hope that the feeling of empowerment extends beyond the mat, into life.
Through my training and mentorship program, there was opportunity for students to review the classes I taught. Sometimes different students would provide feedback that seemed opposing. At first, I wondered how I would “fix” things for each person, because following one suggestion made the class worse for another student. And, it felt confusing because these students were in the same class, how could the comments be so different? Then it occurred to me that they weren’t in the same class. Each person had their own experience on the mat at the intersection of my voice and the body, mind and heart they brought that day. Each experience (including mine as a teacher) was unique. Each class is co-created by the student and I. It’s important that I communicate and model this idea as I teach, so that students feel free to take the suggestions that are theirs, and ditch or modify the rest. I also believe this idea has value off the mat as you move through life with intention and purpose co-creating your experience, responding to obstacles and accepting life’s gifts.
Yoga is a journey of the body, mind and heart. Today is one step. I want to encourage students to accept where they are and take today’s step. Each person’s journey is unique and beautiful and worthy of respect. Your journey is not your neighbor’s. Embrace your journey.
These words help me reflect, clarify and guide me on my journey as a teacher and a yogi.
What are your three words and why?
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