student first teacher second

I recently received an email from a student who participated in a recent weekend workshop I gave in Philadelphia, PA.  She was thanking me for the experience and then she threw this question out there.

“….Also I am very inspired by what an excellent teacher you are. Why do you think you are such a good teacher, and how long did it take you to find your teaching style?”

Here was my answer:

“I love teaching very much, so thank you for the positive feedback. I will tell you that I am pretty sure that I am a solid teacher ONLY because I am an excellent student of my chosen subject of study…….yoga.  I am mad for yoga and its various limbs or parts that make me whole. This is my 12th year as a yoga teacher and I am still so excited by the possibility that comes through practice, the patience required to be a yogi in training, and the pure love I have for my teachers and the effort that is required for me to spend time with them each year.  I am of the opinion that maintaining a daily practice is the key to good teaching….and I am not talking about going to drop-in yoga classes during the week either.  Finding a teacher that you long to know what they know and then taking what they have imparted to you and working that…….slowly and all alone …is the start of a daily practice. My teacher in India says, “if you want to be like your teacher, spend as much time with them as possible.”

This is great advice.

Whenever I work with my American teacher I ask if I can simply observe him teaching, I offer to be his chauffer, the bookstore, to lunch, to coffee, to the airport ect….I’ll do it! 6 1/2 years later I can call him (literally text him) for tax advice, working as a world traveling yoga teacher, or about my own practice….relationship is built. It isn’t just mat material that there is to learn from great teachers….so whoever is the teacher that wish to learn from ask them out for coffee…..pick their brain about their relationship to practice, teachers, the lineage or method that directs/inspires/informs them…etc….that is what I have done.

For me it is pretty simple.

First I am a yoga student, then a teacher.

I think this is correct method. I hope that this was helpful!!!

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