Here is another topic I’ve been thinking about lately. The relationship you form with your yoga teacher can of course be very different. I find it to be a strong relationship unlike any other that we have with our family, friends or lovers. If you go to your class weekly, the teacher will get to know you maybe better than your friends. Not with everyone, but sometimes I get the feeling they just see through you. They see and feel your struggles, push you harder when you need to, back off when they sense you are sensitive.
It can be something that builds up over time. I see myself as a non-pushy student. I try out a new class but I don’t make a fuzz out of it. I see some students lingering around, waiting to talk to the teacher, queuing to get some attention or some adjustments. I don’t do this, they sometimes come to me, sometimes not. It’s not that I’m unfriendly and I do talk to them sometimes but I don’t want to be a stalker.
Funnily, I get the sense that most yoga teachers see all of the students. I know for example in this class that I’ve been for a couple of weeks. I never talked to the teacher but he recognises me and says hello whenever I bump into him. There is something raw and beautiful with the relationship with your teacher. Who else in your life will see you sweating, red-faced, falling, trying, and struggling to get a bit better and stronger every day? That’s the side we don’t want to show other people normally.
Especially in Ashtanga, it can get quite physical so make sure you feel safe with your teacher. I’m not so sensitive to people touching me normally but noticed that if I don’t like a teacher it’s not nice to be corrected in certain ways. If it’s a teacher I like and trust, I’m more than happy for them to bend me, stretch me and give support to flex those bones.
Some teachers can really see through people. They know how you breathe, how you move if you are having a bad or a good day. Especially if you practice every day. This morning I had a great practice. The Ashtanga teacher didn’t help me with the usual Marichyasanas. But he helped med with a new pose really believing that I could touch my legs with my head. He believed in me so I did it! That’s a fantastic feeling.
I like the way he is paying attention to everything that is happening in the room. Like a hawk, he is looking over everyone and can see exactly what level people are on, where they are at in the series and when to come and assist students. It must be hard with 20-30 people all practicing a different pace.
In the end, he reminded me that I need to put the right leg first in lotus pose. I know I like to put the left leg first as I’m more flexible on that side but apparently that is wrong. Every day I have to practice that he said. I also like the fact he always says goodbye in a kind of Sensei way. I once met him outside of his classes in a different studio and he was really friendly. Sometimes in class, he can seem so strict but it must be because we need it.
That’s something that I would like in the workplace. Where else in life do you have a mentor who helps you to push you to become better every day? Someone who sees your mental and physical transformation and is there to guide you to a better health and life. At work we have yearly reviews, sometimes twice per year if you are lucky. We work in a Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 mindset and most things are about money. I would love to be in a workplace like that where you are challenged to change a little bit every day. Become a little bit every day and have something new to focus on and experience every single day.
Yoga is really a school for life and it’s great for self-esteem. I believe we find a few yoga teachers in our lives that have the most impact on us. Cultivate and nurture those relationships because it’s something beautiful.