Friday, March 21, 2008

No One is Perfect (Cliche, I know, but true)

I've mentioned before that I teach yoga. A fair amount of it. I also tend to be a self-deprecating person - probably in an effort to make people like me, I suppose. How does this relate to teaching? Well, sometimes I find myself in a position where I am teaching something that I, myself, am still working on perfecting. This makes demo-ing a little difficult, seeing as if I can't do it well, it's not going to be demo-ed well. Therefore, I am honest. I give verbal instructions, but also tell the students "I am still working on this pose." I am not there with this one yet.

The question is whether this a good choice or a bad choice: to tell your students you can't do a pose well. Personally, I have never seen it as a negative thing. I have never been someone who thinks students should revere their yoga teachers like they are infallible or perfect. Yoga teachers are humans and students just like the people that attend their classes. They have the same limitations they are working through.

Now, I see the point that people would like to think they are learning from someone who has done it all and just to be instructed by them, they will be able to do it all too because their teacher is the bomb-diggity. I get that. I understand it. But does that mean as a teacher I have to ascribe to that? I don't know. On plenty of occasions I have heard teachers say they can't do a particular asana. Two teachers at a studio I work at, in fact. Does it make me think less of them? No. Does it make me think that I don't want to take their classes because they can't do something? No way. Why? Because there is a plethora of knowledge and perspective on other poses they can offer me that I don't already have stored in my brain.

I think that in Ashtanga, there is more ego present than other types of practices. It's not that Ashtanga tells us to have an ego (to the contrary - we are to let go of it), but the people that are drawn to the practice and the nature of the practice (this progression of poses that you must perfect before moving on) breeds egoism. In students and teachers. It's not something I like. I like the practice because it gives me something concrete to focus on, a concrete path, but I don't know that I like the environment that goes along with it.

1 comment:

  1. 2 words for you...Simon Cowell...he can't sing a lick but he knows what it takes...at least you can have a good range...

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