Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with my Shaman doing some work. As we chatted in the last few minutes of the session, Jim said something that triggered an association. He said something about “failure”. It was a topic I’d been thinking about writing about in relation to teaching SUP. I still plan to write about it…maybe tomorrow…but that’s not the point.
That trigger made me stop and think about the things I’d been saying to my students. I’d been telling them to…
“Tap into the feminine energy that surrounds them on the water.”
“Learn to go with the flow.”
“Let go of trying to control.”
“There’s no place else to be then right here, right now. Everything else can wait.”
“Tap into your childlike energy that we’re told as adults to tuck away.”
“Getting wet means you found your edge and went just a little past it…and that’s ok.”
“The water will expose any bad habits.”
“Feel the sensation of floating.”
“Be kinder to yourself. Kinder to loved ones. And kinder to strangers.”
The ironic part of everything I was saying to my students is that these were things I needed to hear…but until that moment in my Shaman’s office, I hadn’t been listening. It was so obvious…I was teaching what I needed to learn.
Maybe that’s how it is for most yoga teachers. We get our inspiration from the lessons and challenges we, as teachers, face. We develop themes and sequences and words of encouragement to say to our students but in actuality it’s just as necessary for us to hear the lesson as it is the student.
Maybe I’m the only one in this boat. Maybe I’m drawing the people to my class that need to hear a similar message…experience similar movements…learn similar lessons.
Because I teach so many classes each week, I’ll set a theme and a sequence for the week…and for the most part, I stick to it. Sure it varies slightly but not much…until recently. I’ll get a feeling when I see the students…after having a brief exchange with them…and sometimes I decide to abandon my plan and teach something different. I don’t know why exactly other than the words I’d plan to say don’t fit the situation…so I’ll say something else.
I can only assume it’s because they don’t need to hear it…and neither do I at that moment. That the words I share need to be customized to the student. So I guess it’s a combination of what I sense they need to hear and what I need to hear that crafts the theme for the class.
I have no idea if teaching regular yoga will be the same experience for me. There’s something about the water that draws me more into my intuitive self. I feel freer…a connection to nature…an alignment with something larger than myself.
I suppose the only way I’ll know for sure is to start teaching out of the water. Until then…hope to see you on the water.