A teacher who recently took my class, posted a long diatribe on Facebook to express her disappointment in her experience. Okay…valid. Everyone has their own perspectives on a class and it’s always good to know how the class landed. In her post, she lamented that the room was not following my instructions. She felt that those moving in their own manner were being disrespectful to the rest of the room and me. For the record, she was talking about two people. But what if I didn’t feel disrespected? And what if the only person in the room disturbed by the anomalies was that teacher? She also stated that they were creating a disservice to themselves, which is an interesting take from someone who knows absolutely nothing about these two students.
I wouldn’t have revisited this subject if this teacher was one of those hard ass souls who think that there is only one proper way to do every pose in yoga…Bless their little souls…you could write a book on what they don’t get. However, this particular teacher is all about posting her thoughts finding balance, patience, the process…etc., etc.
So, returning to these two students that caused the teacher to blow a gasket. One has been on their own journey for a while, which means testing their limits, taking chances, and generally exploring…which means that their practice can sometimes seem chaotic. It’s not. If you take a chance to explore the limits within your practice, it means that you are willing to take a chance that you might fall out of the pose. That’s how you learn. Falling out of a pose is not a silent event especially on an old squeaky floor. And so what if you fall out of a pose? The other student was having an extremely bad day and wasn’t able to concentrate on my instructions. Their life has been falling apart and the fact that they show up in the space to practice yoga, simply increases my admiration for their resolve and fortitude.
So, let’s examine the teacher’s determination that the students were being unkind and creating a disservice to themselves. That’s pretty rich from someone who doesn’t know these people, doesn’t know anything about their physical abilities, and doesn’t herself follow all of my instructions to the letter…which I applaud! It’s great that she has developed the self-awareness needed to practice yoga safely, but how dare she think that her uninformed view is superior to that of anyone else’s? I am comfortable with people making their own decisions when it comes to their own bodies. My job is to help people develop that fine-tuned self-perception of their body’s mechanics which is a melding of their physical and mental states. And my job is to empower people to accept that their own perception of their physical body is superior to that of every single teacher in the world. Absolutely no one knows how your body feels except you, and if you feel strong and you feel safe, you are okay.
For the record, tolerance comes from accepting things that make us uncomfortable and challenged…not from things that fit into our sphere of comfort.