Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sixteen Candles: Thoughts on Teaching Bodhi 101

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Sixteen people braved the cold and ice yesterday to attend our third Bodhi 101 Yoga workshop, a class designed to introduce yoga to those who are curious about the practice, but not sure if yoga is for them. Sixteen lovely bodies, all different, from all age groups, some with experience, most with none. Women and men, big, small, tall, short, moved through the studio, discovering new ways to breathe and feel. Sixteen explorers, sixteen new candles to light the way into the world of yoga. Two hours flew by (for the instructors, at least).

I love teaching beginners' classes. It's wonderful to explore worlds I've come to know with others who are taking their first steps towards those worlds. Beginners bring fresh perspectives to every practice. Their questions are thoughtful and to the point. They challenge a teacher's ideas and methods because each new body and mind requires questioning our habitual ways of thinking and teaching. Not only does a teacher have to break down the stereotypes that many people have about yoga, she has to work at not reinforcing those stereotypes through her own practice. Beginning students keep us focused, humble and grateful. I always learn more from them than they can ever learn from me.

I'm fortunate to have a great teaching partner. Donna R. and I met at the studio several years ago, when we were both students. We encouraged each other to become yoga teachers and we took our training together. Among other wonderful attributes, she is quiet, reflective, thoughtful and organized. (I know how to be quiet, reflective and organized, but I tend not to put that into practice, sometimes.) We approach situations very differently, but our teaching methods fit well together. This is not a small thing - in the long stretch of time I've been teaching, I've co-taught successfully with one other person. Most teachers like their own classroom, their own stage and their own ways of presenting material. That's natural and good; in order to be an effective teacher, you must have the confidence to work alone. It's a special joy when you find someone whose rhythms are in sync with you and even better when you can carry them into a studio together.

So, thank you to everyone who came out yesterday and thank you to Donna for being the best teaching buddy one can have. I'm doing it all again next weekend, at the Bodhi 101 Meditation workshop. (Donna will be away, playing with a new grandbaby. She will be missed.) If you're in town, please join us. (To register, you can click on the Bodhi Tree Yoga link to the right under "Sites I Like to Visit.") Let's light some more candles.


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