We become teachers for many different reasons: to improve our understanding, a sense of duty, the need for income, to be a leader, to have power...
Once you are teaching, the story can change quickly. You have to work around schedules, maintain time for your own practice and deal with frustrating students. It is easy for the grand vision of teaching to turn into a slog that is fraught with resentment.
It doesn't take much to resent your students. They don't work as hard as you ask them to, they don't take your advice. How many times have you told them to keep their hip down?! Why don't they do it?! Sometimes it seems like it's not even worth the effort you put in.
At times like this, when you feel frustrated by your students, try to approach them and their practice with kindness and patience, not resentment, impatience or anger. Especially when you correct them or adjust their posture.
It is tough, because anytime we correct a student, it comes from dissatisfaction with their performance. They are doing something wrong enough that we notice and feel compelled to intervene. This means that every "correction" we give a student begins with our own irritation and has the potential to bloom into frustration or even anger.
Is it possible to turn our dissatisfaction with a student's performance into something more generous? How can we serve them and make them understand better? (Because let's face it, nearly every mistake comes from misunderstanding.)
Above all, we (the teachers) are here to serve the students. They are not here to serve us. Sure, it is important to honor the purpose of the practice and be sure to do things right, but this is actually in service of the student, not the teacher.
When you teach, and when you correct your students, do it out of service, generosity and kindness.
Don't do it to get something from them. Do it to give something to them.
Don't do it out of frustration or anger. Do it out of love, to help.
A teacher's patience is infinite, because the goal is to teach the student. And the goal hasn't been achieved until the student understands.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
- The 113 Postures of Ghosh Yoga
- Make the Hamstrings Strong, Not Long
- Understanding Chair Posture
- Lock the Knee History
- It Doesn't Matter If Your Head Is On Your Knee
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- 5 Reasons To Backbend
- Origins of Standing Bow
- The Traditional Yoga In Bikram's Class
- What About the Women?!
- Through Bishnu's Eyes
- Why Teaching Is Not a Personal Practice