Monday, December 12, 2011

A Teacher is the Ultimate Student

As a teacher, I consider myself the ultimate student. I began as a student, and my passion for learning and understanding is where my drive arises from. I have always loved pulling from the resources that a variety of teachers has to offer. Each of us has a different perspective and knowledge-base, and when we explore together and share our findings, we can touch on the whole picture. I may not enjoy one instructor's philosophy, but I may love their cuing or energy. We each have something unique to offer.

Many times, students in a class will wonder if they are practicing "correctly". What is the "right" way to do a pose? What is the "real" yoga? When I hear a teacher claim there is only one right way to do anything, I get suspicious. I am way too rebellious to just simply follow along because someone tells me to. Have you noticed that different body types look unalike in the very same pose? I cannot tell you how many times I have been injured because an instructor kept urging me to  move into the correct position, occasionally placing me in the pose, assuming that my body was ready to go there. No matter how much experience or how much of an expert your teacher is, it is essential to be confident in your own body's wisdom.

Almost everything that I truly know and understand has come through experience. No one person can tell me exactly what is right for me, but they can provide me with some guidelines, and once I have moved through it on my own, I am on my way to self-mastery. 

One of my students have told me what a 'bad student' they are, how they are uncoordinated and slow-learning,  rebellious and unruly. My reply: "Oh. You're a teacher's teacher." It's very true. When I am faced with someone who has their own way, it stretches me to be a better teacher. To face my own ego, and to see something from an entirely new angle!

Here is a list of my favorite teachers over the years:
Alan Watts
Ram Dass
Baron Baptiste
Vinnie Marino
Bryan Kest
Erich Shiffman
Steve Ross
Master Ni
Denise Kaufman
Mark Griffin

Here is a list of must read books:
Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Art of Happinessa by the Dalai Lama
Way of Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
Grace and Grit by Ken Wilbur
Henry Miller
* The Diary of 
Anais Nin
The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda


When I was a young student, I was one of those kids who actually liked school. I went to a school for experiential learning, and was taught to be an explorer and to break free from the limitations that exist within the illusion of four walls. So I have always seen teachers as mentors who are on the path, just like me, and are here to help inspire me to find my own way. There are no two people with exactly the same path, and a teacher is here to open up your mind, and help to support and hold space for you as you find YOUR way.

The below is a book about the incredible school that gave me such respect for AND from the teachers.

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