Bringing All Of Yourself To Your Teaching

12:35 PM 1 Comments A+ a-

Recently a friend of mine attended a yoga class where the teacher said "Yoga is 3 parts, asana, meditation and inquiry. If you are not doing all 3 you are just working out."

I wholeheartedly agree with this. In fact, these are the practices & techniques of Baptiste Yoga.

1. Physical (Asana):  Journey Into Power as an access to vitality, power & freedom. 
2. Meditation (Dhyana): As an access to getting present & awakening. 
3. Inquiry (Niyama): As an access to discovery & new possibility.

These three tenets are present in every Baptiste Program I've attended. Baron says if a teacher is hiding something from his/her students - they can smell the inauthenticity. Inauthenticity can show up as the teacher pretending to be the "perfect yogi", always striving to say the exactly correct thing, speaking with a "yogic" sing-song intonation because that's what they think their students want to hear or a teacher who does yoga with the class from their mat. News flash: if you're teaching from your mat by doing the yoga - you're not connecting with your students. You can't see them and they can't see you.

When a yoga teacher brings their whole self (the good, the bad, the messy, the silly) to their teaching - it is immediately apparent and allows the students to connect with the teacher through the practice on a whole new level.

When you go to an eight day Baptiste Program like Level One, Two or Three - it is a full immersion in the practices of asana, meditation and inquiry. Throughout the course of the eight days you will experience new insights into you, your behavior, your thoughts and experience new breakthroughs in new ways of being. The time away from the regular routine of life allows for deeper exploration of self, removed from the day-to-day distractions of "getting things done". Being surrounded by 150+ other people who are also in the work of inquiry is extremely helpful when you need to talk about what you're experiencing. The other person is right there in the work with you and is ready to share from their experience of what is happening in the moment.

Outside of attending a Baptiste Program, there are many tools available to do this work of inquiry. It can come in the form of books, meetup groups or card games!

  • Asking for and put into action feedback on your teaching in the form of:
    • Keep (what's working)
    • Stop  (what's not working)
    • Start  (what's missing)
I highly recommend asking for and putting into practice feedback other yoga teachers in your community. Look for those people who will give you honest, constructive feedback and not just tell you that everything you do is amazing.

Take classes at other studios, listen for how the teachers' instructions land in your body. Record the audio of you teaching and take your own class and put yourself in the head space of your students to see how your own words land in your body.

When you teach from your whole self, the act of teaching becomes co-creating a shared experience of yoga. Leading asana in this way "dissapears" the teacher and the space where anything is possible is created.