Everyone has an angle. Each of us are only able to teach from our own subjectivity. While you may see common threads in student’s weaves or similar foibles in their forms, try not to universalize. You too are always only seeing things from your point of view. One of the reasons we practice in a circle is to see that everyone is up to something, everyone has their own technique, and the community holds vital complexity. How we as individuals relate to others is an embodiment of ethics.
I believe that it is important to know what your angles are when you are teaching. Each of us comes into the studio and to each encounter, with our own implicit biases and it is crucial, as a teacher, to interrogate these. This is especially true when it come to diagnostics, adjustments, and the “seat of the teacher.” When I am looking at someone as a teacher my questions are: what does this person need to get to where they want to go next? and how do I help orient them towards it?
A person cannot be reduced to an essence, a person is complex. And that complexity exists over time and in relationship to time. In a reading, you get a glimpse, a taste, a sampling of what is happening with that person. It doesn’t tell you what their future is. It tells you something about what their history is, and how they are embodying it in the moment. A diagnostic is a snapshot. But you also have to know that what you are reading is also a snapshot of you. What are you seeing and why? What are you responding to and why? What aren’t you seeing and why?
We are not machines. We are not mechanic. We are organic and subjective. A reading happens in relationship. The experience becomes its own relational material, bringing out certain things in the student and in the teacher simultaneously. There are two people in the room, and the space in between them is generative. My ultimate goal as a teacher is not to teach a person how to do a great looking pose. My goal is to empower a person to use their yoga practice to protect and potentiate themselves in order to have a good life.
Photo by Christopher Burick. Image courtesy of SKY TING YOGA.