I finished teaching at a gym I was teaching at for 2 years and received feedback from many of the students there. Quite a few said that they really liked the spiritual aspects of my class and that I took the time to know each of them. They said that other teachers didn’t seem to do this; they seemed to feel that some wouldn’t know them even though they have been going to the class for years. I’m not saying this is true however the perception is this.
This is similar to other feedback I receive when I hear at other classes from those who tell me that they really enjoyed the detail. I know that many teachers simply focus on the asana and I know that for those just starting out at the mat the body is where it starts. Some teachers I know don’t feel that many students want the spiritual aspects or they are afraid to teach it though. Some also feel that the students lack an awareness so they don’t teach it; however how is a student to learn?
I do believe in teaching from the heart though and just being who you are – not worrying about who will be offended. Just as when we were babies we wanted to simply crawl we didn’t know about walking or going further. We needed help to see there was more. Therefore as teachers I think it is important to remember the beginners mind, and tap into explaining the breath work, the mind and how to meditate. Explaining the real purpose of yoga and allowing it to unfold – like a flower. Not worrying about the sole reason they may have come to class – they will find more reasons they needed to come along the way they didn’t know about.
I find it a shame to attend class myself and see those yelling out to a teacher. They haven’t learned to calm the mind and the teacher hasn’t taught them how to let it rise and fall. This lesson isn’t something that goes away from the mat as well. With so many people living with high levels of stress, sleeping disorders and the rise of anti-depressants or sleeping pills I can’t see why this part of the lesson isn’t being practiced as much as asana.
Underestimating that students want the full detail or full practice of yoga is a mistake. The spirit, soul, body, mind – all parts covered.