I’ve entered into a world that is wholeheartedly committed to assisting others with an inward journey. Whilst everyone’s path will look different, at the end of the day we are all seeking stillness, to be completely present with the self and so we are fully embodied. Why do we seek this? Because we are all very aware that no external object, person or place can bring us to this place. We need to look within and to do so is one of the most challenging, but also rewarding, journey’s any of us can go on.
As a teacher, someone others look to for guidance and support during this process, I find I have a huge responsibility to my students. This responsibility doesn’t mean to just guide people through an asana or sequence correctly, applying correct technique and ensuring students are all practicing at a level which is safe for their level of experience, but the bigger responsibility comes from the messages I send out. What I’ve noticed as a practitioner is how intently students listen to their teacher. For some, they take what is being said by the teacher as gospel regardless of what the message is. Whilst some messages are amazing, inspiring and so very encouraging – after a weekend of being completely immersed in the ‘yoga world’ it blows my mind to see/experience how much fluff there is out there too. During my practice I’m being told to “hold my soul next to my heart chakra,” and “pull my heart deep into my solar plexus”… I mean – what the?! Pull my heart where? Now, whilst I fully appreciate the intention of the teacher is to genuinely connect with themselves on a deeper level, I’m not so sure stringing some random buzz words together will really help people achieve this? The playing of western versions of Indian chants is another area of concern for me. Whilst I LOVE my relaxation music to be playing at home – seriously, it’s on 80% of the day to create a lovely ambiance in my home – during practice it’s totally unnecessary. Practice is a time for people to become completely attuned to themselves, not deliberately distracted by external music playing specifically for that class. If music is played during a class, we often tend to drift toward the music rather than deeper into the self. It becomes an excuse for no longer allowing ourselves to become completely vulnerable in the practice and aware of how our body truly feels. The world is full of distractions. Let’s not allow yoga to become another one of them.
At the risk of being criticized or ridiculed for my approach to teaching, I’m writing this post with the best intentions to bring people’s conscious attention to what it is they are actually trying to achieve through their practice. Ask yourself, with complete honesty and openness; “Are you there for some fluff wrapped up as the answer to ‘true inner deepness?” OR “For the honest, vulnerable, playful experience which yoga can bring into you and your life making every moment more enriched and life giving?”
With regards to yoga and how I teach, my personal belief is and always will be: Compromise is never an option. What is yours?
Or.... here's the alternative. I'll let you decide ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDso5ElFRg