‘Safe’ yoga teaching online and in person
One of the greatest points of importance to me in providing a safe learning environment is to truly emphasise ‘learn in your own way’ and to actually mean this. This might mean lying in bed with your baby, having your pets or children pop in and out or being able to say, ‘that pose made me anxious’. I don’t ever want to ‘front load’ an experience by saying ‘this pose will do this for you, or this pose will do that for you’. How could we possibly foresee this? No one can tell you how you should feel in a posture. Only you can say what your experience is and no one can argue with this. Saying things in a soft and fluffy voice does NOT make the experience soft and fluffy. The teaching environment needs to stay in open dialogue and we as teachers receive feedback from our student body.
It’s high time the top down teaching style in yoga EXPIRES. In many ways, I think live ZOOM has taught teachers we can’t force or instruct a student to do this or do that because the student can walk away, mute you, turn the camera away or OFF and students can finally take back control of their practice. How many times have you felt disempowered to leave a class you weren’t comfortable with? Nevertheless it’s not uncommon for teachers in my trainings to still ask, ‘What should I be feeling?’ and ‘Is this right?’ or ‘Is this OK?’ I completely understand how this has come about as this is the way I was taught too as if somehow the teacher had agency or a better knowledge of my body. It’s taken me years to unravel from this old outdated style of teaching as it once was.
I hope you continue to seek out teachers and classes where you truly feel safe. I recommend several teachers for yin yoga classes who have studied with me for many years and you can find them on my website under classes. I am currently offering in-depth workshops which are more educational and putting my energies into this as well as looking after my household, children, mother and 2 kitties.
Happy and safe practicing what you love!