The first day of yoga class sees you bushy tailed, eager-eyed sporting the new yoga pants that have not lost its shine, arms holding the brand new yoga mat with its price tag intact enthusiastically waiting for your Guru/yoga teacher.
The much-anticipated moment arrives, the guru glides in, a serene expression fixed on the face, and eyes contemplating something fixed on the Himalayas. The guru recollects himself to the presence of wannabe Yoga students and looses off.
“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.”
As an opener for a beginner student, that statement will definitely make you lose your voice, for you have no inkling of what it says or even means. As you wait silently, stealing glances at your fellow compatriots sunk in the same sea of confusion, you continue to ponder the meaning. The guru descends from his Himalayan heights and graciously expands further. You then come to know that the Yoga teacher was expounding about…. MEDITATION!
Grrr… Why this circumlocutions route? A Rumi overkill…
Where’s the need to invoke a mystical orient (Rumi’s quote) or some unnecessary ‘gyan’ to impress the audience who are already under the thrall of yoga magic? A mere “Let’s do Meditation” would have invoked instant comprehension.
The obscure quotes and ‘gyan’ when used frequently tend to act as an ice bucket or the student just tunes out.
So the question beggars how to inspire and enthuse the yoga students without taking recourse into high brow Rumi or Gibran or spouting some other mystical mystifying ‘gyan’.
My simple take on what I expect from my Teacher…
I am a teacher myself and I fall into the same Rumi ‘gyan’ trap, again and again BUT I am conscious of the pitfall. I too bloat and gloat while teaching… BUT I am learning. I too am… Well! Never Mind… Let me not beat my EGO too much. Here are 5 points that I expect from my teacher/s…
1. Never quit learning or teaching
A good yoga teacher does not stagnate nor do they strut around like a pompous peacock spouting words of wisdom which none in the vicinity understand. A good yoga teacher understands that yoga is a continuous process; a great yoga teacher knows yoga is a continuous learning process with its own share of up’s and downs.
2: Along with the shoes, leave the EGO at the door.
There is an almost subconscious drive to assert one’s superiority devising intricate and creative classes showing off the skills learned by the guru during his sojourn.
Instead, realize most of the students have not come to learn contortions rather they have come to reconnect with their body-breath and the mind. A gradual learning curve is much more important than competing with one another.
3: Silence is Golden.
Remember the students come to learn Yoga and not to listen to philosophical musings. The eager beaver teacher may feel impelled to share his ‘insights’ with his disinterested students. He never stops explaining or quoting! Never forget, Yoga is a discipline that does not require words but requires empathy. Empathy comes with feelings.
4: Follow your Heart.
In the mercenary world, competition is rife to stay afloat. The field of yoga is no exception. Often the yoga teachers succumb to the competition and strive to make their yoga classes the most unique and different from rest of the herd. The yoga Guru’s watch zillions of yoga workouts, read up on trillions of yoga manuals to become a sparkling success. But at the end of the day, you end up as one of the flocks doing the same routine, following the popular trend without any interest.
Result – Your lack of interest translates into your actions caught immediately by the students who will not feel motivated to pursue the course or worse even drop out of it.
Here is a simple maxim: FOLLOW YOUR HEART!
5: Be a free-flowing River.
Yoga is a discipline but it is not bound by rigidity. A teacher must be ready for change and adaptations often within few minutes of beginning the class. An alert and intuitive teacher will gauge the mood of his class and create or alter the class to extract maximum outputs from the class.