In the Yoga Room: The Teacher

In this week’s piece, we reflect upon the role of the teacher in the Mysore room. 

Teachers bear such responsibility. If as yoga practitioners we are supposed to leave our egos by the door, when some of us go on to teach we really must keep ourselves in check. Our flaws and inadequacies can impact our students and our communities in many different ways.

As such, being grounded is important. Having compassion is important. Sharing what we know yet being humble is important. Our intentions, the reasons why we are stepping into the Mysore room, should be constantly revised. 

From this understanding, I wanted to share a few ideas that will hopefully clarify roles and adjust expectations in a Mysore practice setting.

Step down

Step down as the teacher, as the one who knows. Surely you have acquired a certain understanding of the practice that has an inherent value to it, yet your understanding is finite, subscribed to your own experience. 

No knowledge is absolute. Be open and humble. Which leads to the next …

Nothing to prove

There is nothing to prove to anyone. Neither the practice nor the teaching is a performance, but a safe space built upon trust where the spark of personal advancement should be ignited. 

Do not to sweat over minor stuff, such as whether you can put someone into a posture. The teacher is nothing but an enabler, helping students reach their full potential. That said, the practice should come from the student, and the teacher needs to understand when to step in and when to back off. 

Expectations

Building up on the former, keep your expectations in check. Make sure you don’t burden the students with them. Same with your fears and insecurities. It is careless and unfair. 

Likewise, watch out for students that expect you to figure things out for them. We are accountable for own actions, responsible for our own inner work. 

Hold the space

You do hold power as a teacher. People look up to you. Be wise, do not abuse it. Lead by example. If you enjoy a calm and steady practice environment, encourage that and back it up with actions, not just words. 

If you preach about the virtues of the practice and its healing powers, practice intelligently so the yoga can heal you too. 

Be open to constructive criticism without losing sight of who you are. Don’t feel that you have to change who you are to accommodate someone else’s ideal. At the same time, take praise with a grain of salt, for those who are more prone to flattery change their affections easily. 

To finish with ...

Know who you are. What you bring to the table. Step and stay in your own personal power. Not by force but by honestly embracing your essence. 

Acknowledge your limitations, for we all have them. There is a high and noble intention in perfecting oneself yet being aware of the fact that perfection itself can ever be reached. 

Your uniqueness will attract the right people. There is no need to worry, no point in fearing.

Know your worth. Be humble. Be bold.

x Carmen