I’m in the process of becoming trained as a yoga teacher, and the nine-month-long training includes writing a number of papers. I’ll post them here because, well, that’s what I do. The sixth writing assignment was a reflection on the book “Teaching People, Not Poses: 12 Principles for Teaching Yoga with Integrity” by Jay Fields. This is my favorite book we’ve read in all of training.
When I’m uncomfortable or unconfident in a situation, I tend to quickly fall back on my rule-following habits. Rather than bringing personality or my opinions and experience to a situation, I’ll stick to the letter of the law. That’s a crutch that helps me through these circumstances, but it’s often not the most effective way to function.
That’s especially so when editing a piece of copy or teaching a class full of students. I’m in those situations because I’ve got expertise to share, and sticking to what I’ve been taught and nothing more means giving my writers and students less than my all. Jay Fields’ “Teaching People Not Poses: 12 Principles for Teaching Yoga with Integrity” is a wake-up call, a reminder that I’m not an automaton going through a series of pre-set motions.
Throughout this slim book, Fields reminded me that I have something to offer. That’s why my journalism students and magazine interns stay in touch with me for months or years after our professional relationships end. I’m confident that I’ve given them instruction and encouragement that will help them build careers. As I begin to add yoga to my teaching repertoire, I’ll best serve my students by remembering that they, too, will return to me because I have something to offer–and that “something” is more than a series of poses. If all they wanted was an effective workout, there are plenty of yoga videos and smartphone apps to guide a student through a satisfactory practice.
I know already that’s a reminder I’ll need to revisit as I become a yoga teacher. I’m prone to let my Type-A tendencies take over and forget that there’s more to learn than a set of pre-established rules. I expect to keep Fields’ book close at hand to help me find my voice as a yoga teacher.