The Makings of a True Teacher

Even though I won't be teaching this week, I want to try to get consistent with my offering of writing at least once per week to prompt my own thoughts and creations for classes. As I mentioned before, I hope this will not only give me some clarity in a very fresh and busy time as a new mama, but also to spur dialogue and real thought around topics that feel potent or important.

The reason I won't be here this week is that I am headed to Spain to study with Carrie Owerko, Senior Iyengar teacher from NYC. She is an extraordinary human and an incredible teacher. One of the very best I've met along the way and I must say I've studied with a lot of excellent teachers. (She is also joining to teach for a day of my immersion in the fall - but more about that another time)... 

It makes me think about what it is that makes an extraordinary teacher. I think about this in the midst of yet another public scandal of a teacher's abuse of power, this time out of Jivamukti in NYC. I think about it in the midst of the heights of "yogalebrity"-dom, and the very real truth that this is something many new teachers are aspiring to be. I think about all the ways that teachers are human and that very fine line that can occur between walking the talk and taking the liberty to skip a few or a WHOLE LOT of steps along the way. I think about how detrimental this is to our students in tiny or massive ways. 

One thing that I love about Carrie is her desire to keep her students curious.. to keep them seeking beyond the seemingly easy answers that can easily turn into a dogma in any system of yoga or practice. When I first practiced Iyengar yoga I was initially turned off by some of the strict and edgy tone I received from teachers, but I have been fortunate to learn from Carrie and Gabriel Halpern that the beauty of Iyengar (and practice as a whole) rests in its evolution, playfulness and each practitioner's ability to keep searching for the emptiness of the vessel, so to speak.

As I head off to practice really for the first time since my daughter was born (my amazing husband is coming along to watch Miya and of course see Spain while I practice) I am reminded again of how lucky I am to have such clear and open teachers  (I've linked to some stellar examples on my bio page). My wish is that our dialogue as a yoga community grows and that we begin to more universally recognize real excellence beyond the brands and gimmicks and punchlines. My wish is that all of our teachers and guides and mentors continue to push us (gently and lovingly) toward waking up, toward our shadows so that they may be illuminated, toward our hearts so that they may open with care.

Keep searching, keep seeking, stay curious!