I arrive to teach my regular weekly class.
Seeing the usual lineup of familiar students, new students and some fellow teachers unrolling their mats for another beautiful time together as a “yoga family” makes me feel excited to be together again.
We’ve planned out in our mind what we hope to share. Music and yoga, messaging directed from spirit, an opportunity for all involved to reconnect with souls.
We begin to “tune in” with our class with a favorite mantra, allowing the sound current sound from the iPad to start its transformational magic.
Then the sacred teachings of yoga begin to flow out into the classroom.
Then suddenly—maybe a quarter of the way into teaching class—it gets hijacked!
We were just teaching away and then we hear voices.
We turn around and discover some of the other teachers (there for their own practice) are helping or instructing students while we try to teach.
That’s very nice. Helping others is beautiful. But there’s a time to be a teacher and a time to be a student.
And students aren’t supposed to teach the class.
As yoga teachers, we all struggle with this boundary at one time or another. Believe me, I write from personal experience.
We signed up for teacher training because our souls felt the call to be of service off the mat.
When we receive the blessing to become of service, we don’t stop being a student.
It is from our own mat and meditation cushion—how we receive, embody and transmit the sacred teachings of yoga to others—that we are directed to teach.
As yoga teachers it’s important to protect our own sadhana time. This is our daily time to purify and clear, so we can be the clearest channel when we come in to teach. Our boundaries get blurry—and so will we—if we confuse our practice time with teaching time.
Let your practice time be just for you—self-loving, self -clearing, self -healing and self- nurturing.
Doing this will also help us off the mat. Students will learn to respect our time, email and cell phone if you don’t send the “I’m always available” signal.
Healthy boundaries are important the path of coming back into balance.
We are helpers because we are healers. This is why we were drawn to the path of yoga. But even healers need to be “healthy” healers and allow others the dignity of walking their own yoga, awakening on their own timeline.
Allow the yoga teacher “on duty” today the dignity of being of service to his/her students. It may not be how we would teach or take care of those students but it’s just as it should be. Everything is always in divine alignment for learning and growing.
If we get in the way and try to rescue or fix something, that’s not our business or responsibility, then we can actually get in the way of the soul’s journey—the teacher’s and the student’s. The teacher on-hand needs to learn what she/he could have done differently. And the students need to learn to grow by experience; not to be hand-held, fixed or rescued.
Co-dependent yoga teachers help no one.
If it’s hard to “turn off” teacher/employee mode when taking a class or just hanging around the studio, then it’s a perfect opportunity to look at what’s going on. It’s a great exercise to reveal and heal another karmic piece.
By asking things like: “What’s bothering me right now?” or “What am I feeling that makes me want to not feel it and fix, rescue or focus on someone else right now?”
Even as yoga teachers, our ‘stuff’ still comes up. We are human and still doing our work too—healing and clearing, purifying and growing.
Lately, I’ve been teaching a lot about “commanding the space.” What does that mean, exactly? It means no one can shake you, or take from you—whether physically, emotionally or otherwise—when you are solid in your confidence and your strength. This is a strong and emotionally healthy 3rd chakra state.
When we teach a yoga class, we need to command the space. When we notice fellow teachers switching from student-mode to teacher in the middle of class, perhaps we’re not vibrating enough confidence as we lead the room. When we don’t command the space we make it easier for someone, anyone, to penetrate our auric field and step in where they don’t belong.
Your students love practicing with you but they love seeing you on the mat as the student. Modeling healthy student etiquette is the best gift you can give yourself as well as your students.
So sit back, buckle up, trust, allow, accept, let go and enjoy the ride!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Lauryn DeGrado / Editor: Renée Picard