I just finished a practice that I didn’t really enjoy. Not so much in the sequencing or the pace or the poses that I didn’t like, but more the teaching.
Being a teacher has its downsides; it is difficult to let go of the teaching brain sometimes. In a practice in my own home, following just a video, I should be able to relax and forget about the teaching, but that’s not quite how it works.
I caught myself thinking that this is dangerous, wondering how many people get hurt from online yoga classes of this sort. To when I couldn’t help but shouting to my computer screen what she was saying was utter bollocks (not very yogic, I know). It infuriates me that there are someone out there giving so little care about how people would be practicing it; and worse yet getting injured by it. I asked, how is this even legal?
And then I caught myself wondering, if there is really a reasonable way to do this digital teaching, so far removed, so the opposite of tailored classes. In the yoga teaching world it’s often discussed how ancient yogis practice one-one classes following their master, and the practice is unique to the person. Our regular yoga classes have about a 1 to 20 teacher-student ratio. And then we go further, into the digital realm, we are have a 1 to however many thousands maybe tens of thousands teacher-student ratio. How are the teachers suppose to know what level they are to teach? How are they suppose to know what kind of modification/cues they should give?
And then I asked myself, how do I know? Yes sure I can see my students’ physical bodies, their energy and expressions, but how am I to truly know what is going on inside of their meat and bones?
I am sure that ought to have happened, students came to classes, me not knowing their body, gave them a strain or worse yet, an injury. And I am willing to bet that I am not the only one. We, as guides, are but to try our very best, base on what little we know.
“To respect your body” or “to listen to your body” have been said so much it has became a cliche, it became one of those mumble jumble that yoga teachers love to say. But if it wasn’t you who is practicing that is going to be the guard, who is in a better position to do so? In a regular teacher speaks, students follow class setting, how are the teachers suppose to know when something like this is taking place?
I started my yoga with home practices. I used to follow this teacher who loves to set an intention of ahimsa (non harming) for all the classes, and ironically, having tried to do that every time, I have had multiple injuries under her classes. For a while I thought that means I really should be going to class having a teacher in real life instead. But over time I realise practicing at home, having had my own share of injuries, have instead taught me to be very aware of my own limits and sensations. It is through the injuries, the trying, that I have learned ahimsa.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as I assess my still somewhat busted ankle, used to be busted knee and hip, my no longer hurting lower back, I suppose that is somewhat the truth.