The best that I can do as a teacher is to inspire my band of merry yogis to continue their practice. I don’t get to own my students. They are merely passing through. I see the “passing through” part every time class opens with a different set of regulars. They rotate in, and out and back in again. They show up out of the blue and it feels like old friends coming back to say hi. I like that. I want to be sure that I give them something they can use. There is no assurance – everyone gathers what they need – regardless if I had anything to do with it.
My hope, other than the immediate benefit of each practice we have together, is that they will want to move on, that they will want to keep going with yoga. Of course, it doesn’t matter if their practice is at home, or with another teacher. My hope is they find what they need out of yoga.
Second best thing that I can do is that I do no harm. Two years ago January I was holding yoga classes for my friends in my living room. And they kept coming back. We focused on cats and cows, forward folds, and floor twists mostly. I did the sequence almost word for word from the instructor I was attending at the time. This Yoga with Friends class got too crowded for my living room, so we changed houses. I was leading five of my dear friends through a full hour of yoga practice twice a week. Eventually, timing was an issue and one or another couldn’t come. We went down to once a week. Then old injuries and scheduled surgeries started to keep people from class. All but one fell away from coming over for yoga.
The injuries and the surgeries my friends were going through made me want to get certified. The last thing I wanted was to make any of these illnesses or injuries worse. These women were all hurting one way or another. Between them there were knee surgeries, a hip replacement, reconstructed foot and osteo-arthritis. Spring chicken does not describe the group. The youngest of us was 49 at the time.
I don’t know that being certified has made me any more competent at assessing these issues or teaching with and around them. I am just as aware now as I was when I started that there is a lot of healing that needs to be addressed. Maybe I am more aware at how much this healing is truly the responsibility of the one hurting. The best I can do is offer an option toward this healing. And yes, I am partial to yoga benefits.
I’m also partial to benefits of chocolate, a glass of wine and a great night’s sleep. That may be a different kind of healing…as we continue to breathe.