Now that I've announced that I'm going to the training, I want to talk about something related to teaching.
One of my teachers recently reminded me of my one big potential weakness as a teacher. I do not want to think of it as a weakness so much as a massive learning opportunity! But here's the thing: I've been flexible for a long time, I've never had any serious injuries (knock on wood!!), no chronic pain, no arthritis, nothing like that.
< Pause for a quote: "Here, wanna watch me tempt fate? 'Could this day get ANY worse?' See, I said it ironically, so I should be safe." Major props to anyone geeky enough to identify that reference! >
Ahem. So here's the thing: tons of my students are going to be dealing with issues that are purely theoretical to me. I can understand it academically, I can sympathize, I can relate by analogy to my own experience, but at the end of the day, I still can't remember a time when I couldn't touch my toes. So where does my credibility come from? When I say, "yes, I know it's hard, but it will get better," I believe in it with all my heart, but it's from second-hand experience. So this will be interesting for me.
A yoga teacher is essentially a human mechanic. The job is to go in, identify the problem, and then rearrange the body in a way that fixes the problem. In Bikram yoga, it's even simpler, because the protocol is already written. Switching metaphors for a moment (sorry), the medicine will work even if you don't know the diagnosis yet. So the problem of how to move the bodies is purely mechanical, purely technical, and it's something that can be studied and taught. When a mechanic fixes your car, he doesn't need to know what it feels like to be a loose electrical connection. He just goes in, finds the bad connection, and repairs it. Problem solved!
Here's the only difference: a person is not a car! (Sigh. I guess that would make life more boring. More simple, but way more boring.) The auto mechanic doesn't have to worry about wire and gears and filters turning around and saying, "Hey, I can't do that!" and then doing their own thing. He can bend and bang things back into shape without worrying about the pain and discomfort that they experience. And he sure doesn't have to worry that the engine will get up and run away down the road while he's trying to fix it, never to be heard from again! So while mechanical knowledge is wonderful (and essential), technical expertise alone is not going to get the job done.
I guess I will just need to keep listening, be compassionate, and be aware. That should work. But it's an interesting puzzle, right? I will have a lot to learn.