I sit cross -legged on the floor with my hands in prayer pose saying to the class, “Take a deep breath in and exhale out everything you need to let go of. ” Am I just saying those words or am I actually doing them? How much of what we say during our classes are we doing? It doesn’t matter to what population you teach – adults or children. I found myself thinking what if we, as teachers or even as humans, told the truth.!! Wouldn’t that be scary? Are the students coming to us and wanting to hear poetic words? So, today I told my chair yoga students this, “Let go of anything we need to let go of, even if we find it hard to do so at times, because I do.” The good news is I looked out and saw people smiling. I’d like to think they were smiling in agreement. If I am seeking their approval, then I have an attachment to their response. So maybe, the answer is several:
1. Speak from the heart. It’s your class. Speak from your heart. Why not say “Let’s all try to let go of something today and then we can share our experiences when we meet again?”
2. Let go (here I go again) of other’s approval. Whoa, did I say that? That’s a big one! If you have a following, then people are coming because of you. They resonate with you. Kids love you. You’re asked back. Isn’t this what we are teaching the children? Be yourself! Then folks, let’s really do it! Don’t feel the pressure to conform! I mean, within reason. There is a freedom in this.
3. Be genuine! I really enjoy teaching kids and seniors. I look forward to them every week. I make an effort to know them and take an interest in their lives because hey, that’s what I would like, too.
I realize that this is not always easy to do. I’m thankful that the places I teach allow me freedom to teach the way I would like to. It’s not always what you as the teacher can do on the mat, but off the mat. My favorite teacher reads beautiful and motivational passages. I go to her class to hear that. So, keep in mind that everyone is coming to receive something from you.
I started practicing yoga a long time ago. It has definitely changed. I am still going to receive something from the teacher; a workout for the body and soul. You decide what message you want your students to receive. Children are wonderful to teach. They are so open to receiving messages. Children speak the truth. One class, I had just come from the salon and my hair had been straightened. (I have very curly hair.) One of the students looked at me and said, “You’re not Jennifer today, you have curly hair.” It really made me laugh but, I appreciated her honesty. She knew what she liked and wasn’t afraid to share that with me. We seem to lose that for a while and then regain it. The chair students they also tell me what they like and don’t. I like that honesty from them. Some days, I think I should pay my students ,but as I type this I realize I am paying them by giving them a workout for the body and the soul.