A Moment of Reflection on Present Teaching Practice.

There is such a great tenderness around the cyclical nature of a teaching practice for me.  I remember one of my yoga teachers early on, saying, "You measure your yoga practice in decades" and as I reflect at this mid-life pause, I feel the depth of this reflection so experientially.  There really is nothing (at least, non-mechanistic) that is neatly linear in this life, even though we modern humans have a tendency to attach to linear sets of steps, expectations, progress, and so forth.  But being and becoming are sustained in an unfolding process, and the movement of the rhythms that sustain them are cyclical, and through this dance winds the spiral of evolution.  I find this just as true not only with a yoga practice, but with my yoga teaching practice as well.  There are cycles of expression, approach, interest, focus, engagement of awareness...

...I was sharing some of these reflections with a student (and fellow teacher) after class this morning, and remembered fondly when Roger Gottlieb (a JP/Boston resident who authored Spirituality:  What It Is, and Why It Matters, and is the husband of Miriam Greenspan, whose transformative book Healing Through the Dark Emotions was on the reading list for my ministry training (and was a critical book I have also gifted to others)-- if you have the time, please follow these links to learn more https://miriamgreenspan.com/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq6-guvC8Nc)-- anyhow, Roger, who is a very seasoned yogi and only attended public classes a couple times a year, said to me at the end of a class once, "You should talk about 20% less...let the students be in their own experience of the pose."  I smile so fondly at this memory and as I check in with my present teaching moment for sentimentality's sake, but also because I feel that I have almost reached the other end of the spectrum.  I have been in a cycle of saying so little, in terms of narrating the pose or experience for others, and this is fascinating in itself within my moment of reflection on my teaching practice.  Of course, if you are a teacher, I gently remind you that you could always field two entirely different interpretations and reactions to the teaching you've offered at any one given time.  Going back to the time period that referenced Roger, one person would tell me, "I love your dialogue" but then another might feel like he did, and want to be held in a quiet space to facilitate the internal experience.  At times in my life I have tended strongly toward narration-- trying to give voice and expression (often through metaphor) for the magical movements and meaning of the internal unfolding and journeying.  And at other times I have been in a quiet retreat in terms of expression, and have wanted to rest in the truth of silence and stillness, and garner the wisdom of non-action.  (Which always makes for interesting dynamics when pitted against the backdrop and demands of a modern life of a householder yogini with three children who need to be loved, housed, fed, financed, tended to, and assisted in their navigation and understanding of various sets of paradigms within which they find themselves operating).

Still it is interesting to ask myself why I may be holding space in this way at present.  On the one hand, I have been through transition after transition in my personal life and am now in a new place in terms of environment (city, state, house, landscape, climate), relationship status, teaching space.  Coming from a center/studio that I founded myself, which grew organically from that foundation, it feels quite different to arrive in a space that's already established (and even to take on classes that had recently been someone else's so it's almost the energy of replacing that person).  I am still in the visceral experience of coming into the space itself, feeling myself in the space, letting my body become part of it-- and maybe that lends toward more quiet for me.  But there is also the aspect of having come out of a Master's program most recently where there was such in-depth study of ancient and spiritual texts, but covered in a fairly rapid sequence and far more cerebrally than experiential practice yields-- that I find myself almost wanting not to say one word that might connect with anything remotely dogmatic, didactic, and prescribed (even though "yoga" as the broad consciousness practice, science and art that it is has this immense contexts, lineages, forms, traditions) and on top of all that, there is something in me sensitized to the present consciousness of misappropriation, so I am finding the words that want to come out of my mouth are immediate, translatable, based in the present moment and not preaching.