Monday, June 4, 2012

Balance: quiet vs. talkative teachers

One of the studios in my area recently sent an email to all the teachers.  It was about increasing class size and schedule changes.  This email also mentioned the feedback from students was that there is "too much talking and not enough moving going on."

Well that's not good. It seems that the teachers may be losing people by offering too much explanation of the philosophy and detailed alignment explanations. After that I started paying more attention in my own teaching to how much I was talking in class. Was I offering ANY quiet time, other that in Savasana (the final relax pose at the end of class)?

Before I got into the world of Anusara I did two teacher trainings in Seattle. Most of those trainings where about how to get people into poses, sequencing, anatomy, and the Yoga Sutras.

There was little training about how to MUCH to talk, reading the room when people might need a space to just be quiet.  Also there was little about the conservation of words. You can say more about alignment and phiolsphy if you can get people in and out of poses in less words.  The best thing I got out of Anusara teacher training was this formula:

Verb, Body Part, Direction

For example: Step your right foot forward, stretch your arms up, or hop your feet forward.  This is clear and gets new teachers away from "Your gonna step your right foot to the front of the mat, and then...." Just simply tell me where to go.  So how did we get from this to too much talking?
Easy: John Friend does it.  He fills each asana, each moment with his 30 years of knowledge and passion.  He could weave a heart theme, inspire me to move deeper into Triangle pose, and talk about community at the same time.  It was powerful. I am not John Friend, and my students are not like me.

I teach full time, and am single.  I spend my day mostly alone, sleeping, eating, working on my computer, writing, or teaching. For those few hours a day that I am in the studio/ gym I am happy to chat it up in class, before and after class. This is not the day most of my students come from. Theirs is a world that is busy, full of meetings, children, more meetings, lectures at school, so they need QUIET.

What I need and want my students need are different things. My students need a space to move and let the yoga speak for itself. And doesn't the feeling, the experience of yoga tell you most of what you need to know anyway? Don't you already know that yoga calms the mind? Don't you already know that you are part of nature? Don't you already know that yoga connects you to something bigger?

I hope you do, if not keep practicing. 

"Practice yoga, and all is coming!"