Friday, April 10, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 5: Being a Student of Teaching

Every Friday since August, I have been teaching a 10am yoga class in South Seattle. I fell onto the gig by chance. An e-mail came into my inbox from one of the co-directors of my teacher training program that I completed four months earlier. I interviewed, taught an "audition" class, and was hired. It all felt really easy...the schedule, the students, the facility. Ease and grace baby.
Yoga teacher training had always been on my dream list. A goal that I had been working towards since college. In April of 2014, when I received my certification, even though I did have a sense of accomplishment, I felt that I had just dipped my toe into the entire ocean of what there was to know about yoga. That scared me more than anything. 

In most spiritual lineages, it is traditional for the student-teacher dynamic to be present. I honor the tradition. I also have evolved in my belief system that by teaching, we become a better student. Every Friday when I unroll my mat and say good morning to my students, a huge wave of total bliss takes over every cell in my being. I am so grateful that I have been given so much knowledge to share. It's quite a privilege and I don't ever take it for granted.

At the same time, I totally doubt myself. Of all that there is to know, I feel like I know a dot, a blip, just a speck of everything out there. In a weird way, I have totally accepted that and feel totally okay with it. 
In conversations with my peers about this, I see the anxiety that creeps up in all of us in the not knowing. We have created a culture where the teacher-student relationship so heavily relies upon the teacher imparting all of this knowledge and that the student is meant to soak it all up, like an unlimited sponge of sorts. Can the dynamic change? Can their be more of a dialogue? An inquiry? A collaboration between teacher and student? Can the teacher be a student and can the student be the teacher? So what would it take to shift the paradigm? Taking a stand for the fact that everyone can be a teacher. 

Yogis in my Friday morning class constantly teach me about how we are all walking a path in our bodies and that bodies age. They  change. They evolve. Having compassion around that and seeing that right in front of me totally opens my heart. They come up to me before class, letting me know about an injury or pain that they are dealing with. They become vulnerable with me. Wow. What a great lesson and reminder to do that more in my own life.

When they let go a little more in a pose and take rest when they need to. Ahhhh, yes. A reminder for me to not push so hard in my own life. The best lesson? They continue to show up. Friday after Friday, unrolling their mats, making time and space (even for an hour) to dedicate to themselves. I never know if most of them like it or not. That's not my concern. What is my concern is that they take what they need and take it off the mat into the world and share their practice with others. That's the greatest lesson of all. 

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