Teaching energy

Again a quick word from my TT whirlwind, to capture a moment, although I am too tired for careful words. Stay with me, my beloved readers.

My mother in law brought tears to my eyes over dinner the other night. No, not in the way you might think — it wasn’t any criticism of my cooking, or how I treat her son, or any of the usual in-law flashpoints. Actually it was because she was so proud of me! She told me “you’re not the girl we met all those years ago; she was so weak and sick, but now look at you!”

Then she went on to talk about this in the context of my yoga practice and of my teacher training. She told me I had much to offer the world if this was something I wanted to do. I have gone through such a big change, I am proof of the possibilities, and so I could help others to find their own transformation.

I kind of loved this comment. It was very validating. It’s really wonderful to hear how well I’m looking (even though I’d had a nap as soon as I got home from yoga school!). I love that I’m clearly different to how I used to be. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

But in the context of teaching, I kind of recoiled from the topic. I don’t want to be labelled (especially not by myself) as this kind of teacher, with the shadow of sickness and weakness being the background narrative to what I do. In TT we are told to find our own voice as teachers. I get this — my teacher is not trying to create an army of mini versions of himself, he wants us to honour our own unique gifts and perspectives. But I don’t want my voice to be the voice of the past. I want to move on from that.

open top car.jpgAm I ready to do that? In my own practice I feel increasingly schizophrenic as I lurch from what I was to what I want to be. It’s a movement from fear to hope, from weariness to energy, from constriction to expansion. I know these aren’t complete opposites, and they’re not a one-way street. But I so much want to be on the freeway blazing out towards the distant horizon with the wind in my hair and the sun on my smiling face, music pumping, and this brave new world rising to greet me. Instead some days I feel as though I’m stuck in a one-way system, circling round the same block of dingy streets that take me nowhere. Again and again. Bear with me in the strained metaphor…!

So as I find my balance, in my practice I have quiet days where it’s all about nourishment and finding any chink of light and I have bigger days when it’s playful adventure and wild expansion.

So what might my teaching look like from these crazy opposites?

Up til now I’d have said it would be unadventurous, some quiet optimism, some small faith.

But I want it to be bigger than this. I want to communicate endless possibilities and unbounded energy, find joy in every breath and vitality in every heartbeat. This is what my soul yearns for. This is what I’d like to bring to my part of the world. Not the fragility of a broken body, not how to breathe through despair, not the reductionist mantra of rest, rest, rest.

I’m still learning how to do this myself as I find my ‘new normal’. I wonder how much do I need to have figured this out before I know how I want to teach? I can’t wait forever! Patience may be a virtue, but impatience beckons! A bigger life beckons.

parana.pngTT is almost over already. I’ve had my moments of despair and it’s taken deep courage to keep picking myself up when I feel all energy feels spent, to keep bringing myself back to the mat — for the sake of my own learning and to support my fellow students who need me to be there for their teaching practice. One of the things I will take from TT is how to work with my energy… and my energies (the plural being a bit more esoteric, towards the sense of prāṇa maybe). I feel open to the possibilities….

It’s so exciting! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Teaching energy

Add yours

  1. Finding one’s voice is an interesting process. And maybe that is the key – to realize that it is a process, and not a static thing that we somehow fall into. And you know what? I think that it’s probably more important to be able to listen intently than to “voice”. The focus is, after all, on serving, not on my becoming (although that is always happening too!).
    I’m so happy that you are sharing your process with us!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. oh yes, this is going to be an ongoing process I’m sure — as in all aspects of practice and teaching. I totally agree with your observation about ‘serving’ and meeting the needs of others, but I’m wondering about authenticity of offering and staying true to myself… All big topics. And I haven’t even graduated yet!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m rooting for your bc! Your post brings about many important facets about self concept. As a mental health therapist I would advise to cherish your mother-in-law’s encouragement, but don’t have your happiness dependent on it. This is your path no matter odd or strange it seems to others. They do not have your perspective or vision. Her encouragement is a sign post that you are closer to your vision (even if you yourself don’t realize what that vision is yet.)

    Secondly, most teachers who are truly great come from a background of injury, sickness, and hardship. BKS Iyengar had malaria and TB. Poonjaji had to rescue 35 of his family members from the Punjab and support all of them by working odd jobs. Nisargadatta Maharaj had to sell cigarettes on the streets of Bombay for a living.

    Lastly, you already have a voice. I read it in every one of your posts. Just listen to that person who writes the blog and all else will take care of itself. Abide in your own authenticity.

    Many blessings,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Michael, for such a wise and generous comment. Your support means so much to me – I feel I’ve come a long way during the time you’ve been following my blog. Yes, I love this voice here – I just need to translate my babycrow into my teaching!! A new chapter perhaps…


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