Recently with the 52 Yoga Project, I’ve been getting a bit attached to the activity of going to lots of different classes & observing teachers, etc. It is definitely not the main intention for my practice, nor for the project…..but it’s taken on a bit of a life of it’s own. I have quite an analytical mind, so it can be difficult sometimes to switch off in class to the finer points of the teachers delivery.
So, there was a teacher last week I went to ~ a tall, graceful, beautiful person. Quite a serious & introspective style with lots of wonderful challenging aspects to the class overall. It felt lovely.
But there was one habit I couldn’t get past. Oh dear. It was the phrase “Begin to”.
“Begin to reach, begin to bend, begin to take your left arm, etc, etc, etc”.
When I took teachers training, we were taught about delivery of yoga teaching language. One beautiful aspect of the Ashaya-style teaching is the art of direct language. “Bring your knee to your chest” is greatly preferable to “Now, begin to bring your knee to your chest”.
See the difference? Those extra words are not necessary and keep us at arms length from our students and what it is we are asking them to do. In listening to a teacher now ~ as a teacher ~ I find it is often tricky to switch off from the delivery, from the words used, the phrases, the sequencing. Things like “begin to” and “OK, now we will” are driving me nuts. If we are asking our students to be fully present in the moment in class, so too, we need to be fully present to what we are saying. The “begin to” I compare it with the phrase, you know, when someone says “we should catch up” but you know they will never call….there’s a certain level of insincerity or shyness or reluctance to truly open up.
Please, please please, when you teach, leave the front-loading of phrases right out. If there is a pause once the movement is made, you can easily insert a themed piece about what you feel as a result of the movement, what benefits it brings to your body and your mind.
Maybe I need to go and join the Bad Yogis…….
Ever heard of them? The Bad Yogis? It’s a little mini-movement not to take yoga so seriously. How you don’t have to do the difficult poses, have a yoga image, be on Instagram, only stick to one kind of defined yoga school or style, etc. It’s quite a beautiful concept.
I am stuck between wanting to love (and not judge) and be as be as rigorous and giving I can possibly can be as a teacher.
Sure sounds like yoga to me. Yin & Yang, dark & light…..to begin or not begin, that is the question.