One of the most pivotal moments for me was when I was taking an advanced yoga teaching module at Kripalu. One morning I was in class and it became clear that the teacher’s intention was to energize. She chose standing sequences then back bends. She was working to a pinnacle pose of Camel.
This dreaded realization began like a lead weight in the pit of my stomach. This would be everything I knew I had difficulty with because of misplaced vertebrae.
I got really upset with her for “putting me through this torture”, and then myself for not being able to do it. I couldn’t do what she was asking of me because I knew I would hurt myself.
It was a real struggle for me. To calm myself, I began a BRWFA practice and went into child’s pose for the rest of the class.
On reflection, what was missing was that the teacher did not take into account that someone would not be able to do the postures.
She didn’t give me permission to modify and adapt. Or find my own practice. I felt left out, not good enough, and a failure.
At that point I was ready to give up on teaching yoga. However, with support from a wonderful yogi, I realized that what was an obstacle, was my way forward.
I vowed to do all I could, so that my students would never feel this way.
We take so much for granted based on our own experience. As yoga teachers we must reach beyond our own experience and connect to our students with empathy and understanding.
We must hold that safe and nurturing space for each and everyone of them.
In the next Yoga Teachers Mentoring group we will be diving into this.