listen to me even when I tell you not to….
Alright yogis, listen up!
OK, that may not be the friendliest way to start my blog. Let me say it another way.
Listen to me! NOW!
1) Rule number 1 – to be the “perfect yoga student,” you must listen carefully to your beloved teacher!
2) Rule number 2 – to be the “perfect yoga practitioner,” you should NOT listen to your teacher if that instruction is not suited for you, doesn’t bring anything positive for you, or worse yet, if it feels bad. Above all else, you have to protect your body.
You’re probably scratching your head a bit. Huh? Don’t those two conflict? Yes, they do. And therein lies the dilemma. How can one be a “perfect yoga student” and “perfect yoga practitioner?”
Well. Forget about it! That’s my answer.
why are both rules number one?
Well, (I think I’m past the point of “too many wells” today – well, whatever) you should listen carefully to your teacher. First, because your teacher is likely to be more experienced than you – even if you have been practicing for more years than your teacher. See, in order to become a yoga instructor, an individual, such as your teacher, needed to attend a yoga teacher training. These vigorous courses give individuals insight into many things, such as posture mechanics, yoga philosophy, anatomy, nutrition, and so much more that you probably have not studied yet. These topics potentially give this fine, up-standing individual a deeper knowledge of yoga and all its benefits. In case you are a teacher, and a more experienced one at that…. well (here we go with the wells again)…
When you are teaching you are the teacher, but when you are practicing you are the student. So in this environment you should let go and practice. In this situation, the teacher is creating an space, a sanctuary, a haven, and is doing all she can to serve you. Judging her abilities and questioning her process is just clutter in your mind, taking you away from having the best practice you can. Taking time to listen carefully can even become a meditation for you. Break away from what you expect to come next, instead focus intently on the words and what they mean to you.
It also comes down to a matter of respect for the person teaching and taking into account what she studied and where she comes from. It might happen that you learn something new… hopefully It’s easier to enjoy when you put the teaching part aside and enjoy a different personality, approach, style or flavor.
so what about the other first rule, “don’t listen to your teacher”?
Well… if the teacher is saying something completely absurd or something that gets you in trouble (by trouble i mean hurting yourself and similar things), instead listen carefully to your body and don’t engage in anything harmful. Your first responsibility is to yourself. Healing yourself. Taking care and loving yourself. If the second first rule goes against this condition, well, you are excused and don’t have to apply the second first rule.
After all, the body in which you are living in and with is yours. You are the one with “you” 24/7. You will feel the pain and the discomfort due to an injury, so, it’s your responsibility to be careful and take care of it. Your responsibility is to avoid injury and avoid pushing too much. And that is no one else’s responsibility.
COROLLARY to the second first rule: never say “that teacher made me injured, or got me injured!”. Never!
Who does your body belong to? Who has been destined to take care of your body? Who is living in your body and who knows it better than anybody else? You and only you. So it’s your only responsibility to protect yourself, and your body from the harm and possible accidents that surround you in this world.
Is that clear? Wellllll…
Go home and practice now. And try to apply the first first rule and second first rule at the same time.
Afterward and just afterward, comment on this post.
In one month Alex's life changed from a aspiring yoga teacher to a full time traveling yogi! He first found meditation when he was down on his luck. After a regular meditation practice giving him love and support, he ventured off to India to learn more about meditation, then took a Reiki training, soon after became 200 hour certified through Evolation to teach yoga and now travels the world with his new talents. Coming from Italy, he spent time in Buffalo teaching in a studio, helped at teacher trainings in Tampa, Santa Barbara and Bali, and is now managing a studio in Belize. His next stop is heading back to the beautiful Santa Barbara to help with TheHotTT's 500 hour training. More of his and adventures, trainings, and blogs can be seen here.