Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Confessions of a yoga teacher

Let me begin by saying that I am not only a yoga teacher but also a yoga student. I try to take at least 2 classes a week. I'm also a student in an advanced yoga teacher training program. I spend just as much time in the role of student as I do in the role of teacher.

I understand how much you love your teacher. I love my teachers too. I know how disappointing it is when you daydream all day about getting to your favorite class only to find a substitute teacher. Confession#1: The fact that I'm subbing the class means that I am not getting to practice with my favorite teacher either. Therefore, I am just as disappointed as you so let's just suck it up and make the best of it.  Oh..and there's no need to tell the sub that you prefer the regular teacher. The sub already knows.

We've all been in yoga classes where one student is doing something totally different then everyone else. Even though we're trying to practice pratyhara (turning the senses inward) we can't help but notice what pose they are doing and wonder why. Confession#2: It's just as distracting to the teacher as it is to the other students when someone doesn't follow the instructions. It makes it difficult for the teacher to insure everyone's safety when her/his attention is divided.  If you want to do your own practice - stay home and practice.  If you come to a group class be prepared to practice along with the group.

I admit that I too have felt euphoric when after a really challenging sequence we release into child's pose or a forward fold. I understand the feeling that results in moans of pleasure. Confessions#3: Although it's nice to know that the students are enjoying the practice it's really not necessary to be so vocal. Try to remember that there are others in the room who are enjoying the moments of silence between the poses.

I took a yoga class once at a local studio. The environment was high energy. There was a lot talking and joking around on the part of the teacher and students. There were discussions happening during the practice. This was quite a different experience than I'm used to. Perhaps it's the fact that I spend most of my day talking to people  that when I step on the mat I want a more internal experience. I personally did not enjoy the external distraction of conversation in the midst of what should be (in my humble opinion) an internal practice. Confession#4: I know that everyone has a story to tell but please wait till after class to share your stories or revelations. It's hard enough to balance the flow of the class with instructions and adjustments.

About a year ago I took a class at a new yoga studio. I was surprised that the owner/teacher was so young. How could someone so young own a yoga studio?  I'm always searching for a guru and I am ashamed to admit that I didn't think she had much to offer because she seemed so young. That was until the class began. She may be young but she has done a lot of study in the field of Ayurveda. A lot more study that I have. When I opened my mind and heart I actually learned quite a bit. Confession#5: Even if you don't feel like the teacher has anything of value to teach you keep an open mind and open heart and you may actually learn something. Maybe you might learn that your ego is what is preventing you from learning something really important. 

What I'm about to say may fall into the category of TMI (too much information) but here it goes. I too sometimes have a "wardrobe malfunction". Sometimes my bra isn't the right bra for class or my shirt doesn't fit right and I find myself spending most of the class trying not to fall out of my shirt. Confession#6: Being on the yoga mat does not make you invisible to rest of the class. If you must adjust yourself please be discreet. Oh....I am aware that there are some naked yoga classes being offered in New York but if you're in my class clothing is not optional. Please keep your shirt on during class.

Okay..... now that I have confessed....I ask your forgiveness if I've offended you in anyway and I'll say 108 mantras to Shiva as penance.  Om Namah Shivaya.

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