There is a saying in eastern philosophy, “The teacher and the taught create the teaching.” I really believe this to be true, as I see evidence of it with each class that I teach. I learn something about being a teacher and a yogini every day from my students.
As an instructor, I get as much if not more, out of teaching yoga then when I practice it myself. In fact, there are times when I’ve had a hard day at work, and the rewarding feelings of teaching melt the day away. I feel as refreshed and relaxed as my students after they’ve allowed themselves to let go in savasana. They make me want to give more; they make me want to be a better teacher.
My students remind me how NOT to get stuck in a rut. Just when I think that I know exactly how I need to instruct someone on how to get into every pose, and that I’ve thought of every modification. Then a student will come to class with a unique injury — so I adjust again, and learn to modify myself.
They also teach me about love, acceptance, and gratitude. Despite our competitive society, I witness a patient acceptance of one another — especially for those who are just learning. The love and gratitude they send to me and to each other is something to truly behold.
I’ll admit, there have been times where I haven’t practiced what I preached. I remember a specific class in which I’d encouraged my students to let go of that which didn’t serve them, be it the traffic they sat in to get to class, the fight they had with their spouse, or their feelings of not being good enough at yoga.
As I spoke the words, it felt robotic. I knew I had to be there for them, but at that moment I wasn’t letting go of what wasn’t serving me. I was struggling with something personally, and couldn’t seem to let it go. So, here I am telling my students to set an intention to let go, when I was coming from a place of attachment. As we sat there in silence, sending out our intentions, I peaked open one eye to scan the room. While I couldn’t read their minds, I noticed their brows unfurrow, their jaws unclench and their breathing begin to slow. I felt their sense of calm, and I let go too.
By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand. – Latin proverb
– Your Charmed Yogi