I spent last weekend at a three-day training course at Yogacampus, learning how to teach yoga for stress and burn-out. It was delivered by Charlotte Watts and Leah Barnett who are both wonderful, insightful teachers, weaving yoga philosophy with emerging scientific research into yoga and stress-related illness. I am still processing all the learning and will write more about this in future posts; in the meantime here are some reflections from the course about my journey towards teaching.
The training was experiential in nature and the yoga practice was very restorative, infused with Scaravelli and Feldenkrais inspired movement, as well as the use of sound and mantras. This was a wonderful complement to the precise and classical alignment-focused approach that I am learning on my teacher training programme. I have always been drawn to all of these approaches, and of course there is often cross-over between them.
But during the weekend I experienced a sense of overwhelm at how different the teaching and the yoga felt compared to what I am learning in my teacher training. Not different in a bad way, but different in a way that made me want to ask ‘but which is the right way?’ and brought up a sudden desperate need for certainty (ah, hello perfectionism my old friend!).
So I sat with that for a while.
Then I noticed that, although it felt like I was experiencing different approaches, the core messages (or at least my interpretation of them) were pretty much identical:
- Strength grows out of softness, not hardness.
- Less is more: the power of a slow and mindful practice.
- You can only teach what you have felt or experienced yourself.
- The importance of compassion towards yourself and others.
- It is more important to support your students to feel, than to get them to make the ‘right shapes’.
And then I realised that instead of feeling overwhelmed by the different teachings I come across, I can simply absorb what I need to learn from each teacher as I follow and form my own path. That way, I can allow my teaching to unfold from my heart, from my experience, from myself, infused as it will be with teachings that have resonated with me along the way. And my own students will, in turn, absorb what they need from me at the time our paths cross.
And then I remembered that in yoga there is no right way. There is only your own unique and meandering path. And then I felt calm. And inspired.