Facebook just alerted me to the fact that it’s been two years now since I obtained my yoga teaching certificate. So I’ve been teaching that long! A ‘time flies’ moment if ever there was. How can I have learnt so much AND so little in this time?
I remember one of the things that vexed me the most immediately after graduation was how to balance my own practice with my teaching practice and what the relationship was between the two things. Now in my two-year teacher (relative) maturity I’m beginning to realise this is a fundamental question that I will keep exploring for as long as I practise and teach. It’s not a question with an answer, it’s just an ongoing enquiry which I’m trying to embrace. I liked the idea I came across recently of one’s own practice as ‘pratikriyasana’ (a counterpose, a balance to our teaching) to fulfill our own needs as practitioners, not simply as a preparation for what we’re teaching. YES! This is what I’ve been trying to do. I try to keep personal practice and teaching prep separate, even though that requires more time and energy.
And when I meet with my teacher I try to focus on my own practice, not my teaching practice or the challenges within that. Certainly I could do with his advice sometimes but then I know we’d stay there for the full meeting with him as a teaching mentor when I still feel acutely in need of guidance for developing my own practice. Amusingly I think this means he’s only just realising that I teach 3 or 4 times a week. He looks super-suprised if I make any mention of my students and my developing relationship with them. I don’t want to make a deal about my teaching endeavours, but I would kind of like him to know that his efforts to pass on how to share and teach are ripening in their own way, even though they’re out of his sight. I am proud of my small contribution in sharing yoga.
So I get slightly irritated by how often fellow students at the studio where I practise ask me why I don’t teach. “I do, just not here” is my simple answer and then they too look suprised. Do I need a publicist? Should I do as others do and talk loudly about my teaching activities? No, I just get on with it, doing my practice and from that teaching my students as best I can. That’s what they need, so that’s what’s important. The real recognition and reward is seeing them on their mats in class each week — expanding and flowing and then ultimately settling. Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devomaheshvara. Arising, being, dissolving. That’s all any of it is.