Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Learning Not Teaching

My teaching schedule has been pretty abbreviated for a little over a year now.  I'm still teaching here and there, and of course I'm still practicing yoga a couple times a week, but I was teaching three to six times a week for a while last year, and the year before.

I've been keeping busy of course: writing a novel, researching a non-fiction book, interpreting the Tarot, giving tarot readings, Reiki healings, private yoga lessons, working behind the scenes in a couple yoga studios, interning with cook book author and celebrity chef Candice Kumai, studying and performing aerial...so busy in fact that I can't imagine squeezing three, let alone six, yoga classes to teach into my schedule without a major overhaul.

This is why my eyes flew open in surprise last night when, as I drifted off to sleep, I thought of myself, as naturally as you please, as a yoga teacher.  I shouldn't have been surprised, though.  It's not something that ever goes away, sort of like being Catholic, or I imagine, Jewish.  Every teacher trainer program talks about how you don't have to want to teach to gain a lot from the program: maybe you just want to deepen your own practice.  I don't know about every other teacher trainee out there, but I didn't take that second part too seriously: who would invest this much money, time, and energy in something just for their own sake?

The joke's on me, though, because my practice has deepened, changed, evolved, and exploded in myriad beautiful ways since that teacher training started almost exactly three years ago, and I know beyond a doubt that most of that growth is due to Yoga to the People's program.  If I had any doubts, I'd only have to note the whistfulness with which I read descriptions of other Teacher Training programs.  I'd sign up for another, or three, in a heartbeat, if I had the time and money for it.  I know I inevitably will when the time is right.  Of course, it wasn't just those crazy, bootcamp-style two-hundred hours I spent huddled on creaky wooden floors with more than twenty fellow yoga disciples.  Teaching yoga has allowed me to learn so much more about the practice than just taking it would have, from the students, and from other teachers.  I can see the architecture of the asana flows, and follow the line of thought between extended arm, and esoteric sutra.  In building flows, I built connections that allowed me to climb to broad new vistas.

In fact, I'm beginning to think we need MORE emphasis on yoga teacher training as an opportunity to move deeper into your yoga journey, and less emphasis on going on to teach yoga yourself, particularly with any hope of that entailing income.  If you need a little background on the economy of teaching yoga, particularly in NYC, read this.  It wouldn't be an issue for hundreds, probably thousands, of new Teacher Trainer graduates to be minted every year if the vast majority of them didn't plan on teaching, and those who did harbored no illusions about what that would mean: long hours, and a teeny tiny paycheck.

I'm so grateful for the crazy twists and turns my journey has taken.  Even when this ride has plunged me straight down into darkness, it's always brought me back out to something greater.  I hope to get back into a frequent teaching schedule sooner rather than later...but in the meantime I'm grateful for the time and energy I have to pursue my other passions.

Have you recognized any blessings in disguise lately?  What experiences have you had that have changed you in surprisingly fundamental ways?

Live Omily,
~em

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