First of all, I hope everyone in the US had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. We got back from St. Paul,MN yesterday to a couple of grateful cats and a chill in the air. Today the snow is swirling down and we are on the way to our first Winter Weather Emergency here in Wisconsin. 6-10 inches by tomorrow. Hello, December 1.
The YJ article is safely in San Francisco now, but I wanted to share one of Jason Crandell's thoughts from our interview. He is a regular YJ contributor, but also teaches and is the yoga director at the Bay Club in S. F. I think most teachers that continue to teach at gyms feel strongly about the experience and their role in introducing yoga to the masses (didya see all the comments?!); Crandell is no exception. I ended the article with this quote, and I've been reminding myself of it in class all week:
"It's important that, as yoga teachers, we don't buy into the whole gym yoga thing. It's important that we teach the essence of yoga as we understand it to the people that are in front of us. That really should not be different regardless of where one goes."
I love the concept of teaching the essence of yoga as you understand it. You train and practice in a particular style with its particular rules, but you will teach yoga as an individual in the way that makes sense to you. This allows for difference and variety in all their shades, good and bad, but it is what makes yoga such an interesting discipline. It's a language full of accents and slang, newly coined-phrases and old fashioned words; but, no matter how it is "spoken," there are benefits to be had and awareness to be created.
It's such an honest way to approach the practice and keeps you focused on your own technique, rather than worrying about what is better or more authentic or whether a new student will like it. It encourages confidence in your teaching skills, but also fidelity to your training. No showing off. Teach what you know. Keep it simple.
In these days of myriad certifications, hot yoga bods and "my yoga's better than yours," this is a nice reminder. I'm not saying there isn't always something new to be learned, but, as with any teacher, you should strive to teach the subject to the best of your ability/to the best of your understanding. That's why your students are there and why they stay.
Although, please, no Iron Yoga.