Ok, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic. But there’s a piece of it that is true. My teacher training was this amazing experience of adhikara, studentship. Being in community with my misfit tribe. And before I decided to deepen my practice through training, yoga class was one of the few opportunities that I fully let go. There was no analysis of “shins in” or adjust this. There was the adventure of finding out where practice was going that day. I didn’t have to know…someone else knew, and I could trust them and myself to get me where I was going.
Now as a teacher, I find it hard to not play my teacher role in my own head. I find myself only half listening to what is being said, telling myself the cues, analyzing each pose for how I can adjust it. Listening enough to notice the things the instructor does that I like, that I think “oh, I should use that in a class”, and the “I didn’t really like it when…” What used to be an amazing release for someone who lives far too much in my head, has now turned into a practice of thinking not feeling.
Now don’t get me wrong…I love teaching. It is this amazing experience to share something I love. And to feel like my most authentic self. But it sometimes leaves me feeling separate, me (them) and them (students). Sometimes when I’m teaching I feel disconnected from the practice that led me to want to teach.
How do I find that balance? How to be two different roles, all from this one body? How can I move my learning out of my head and into my body? How do I be a part of the community as a fellow student while I sit in the role of teacher? Because I love teaching…and I want to use my own practice to constantly learn how to be a better teacher. But to be a better teacher, I know I need to be a student. And even if I wasn’t teaching, I can’t unlearn.
For today, I do that by going to class, getting on my mat. By being a student again. After all, sometimes it takes practice.
As Patanjali tells us, “Practice and all is coming.”