As teachers, we have the opportunity to imbue a sense of pause, of otherworldliness and to rekindle the flame our students have with their true nature (as infinite beings), right in the beginning of a group sadhana or yoga class.
The composition of this container of sacred space does not involve walls or floors; crystals and incense are optional.
A led group practice transforms into a cradle with this one act: the teacher’s mindfulness, channeled through deep attention to detail. Our goal: allow students safe connection and self-exploration.
To create sacred space,
- Use your voice to ask questions: what body issues may be relevant to today’s asana practice? Make sure to talk quietly and one on one with anyone who raises a hand and make sure to be pure with your promises. You cannot cure all, you cannot modify all.
- Use your hands to touch when appropriate. This may be an energetic sweep, an assist in the right direction, or a pressing into, so the student can palpably know the direction to you. When in doubt: offer a shoulder rub.
- Use your eyes to make eye contact and to see the needs, aspirations, fidgets, and dormant potentialities in your students. These always trump your class plan.
- Use your feet to bring the students what they need — a tissue when they sneeze, a high five when they smile, a prop that will “turn it up to 11″ for them.
- Use your ears, your listening skills, to stay present to sound. Sound includes music if used, your word choice (and how it may fall), tone and volume, sighs or strains. In a world that constantly startles, the enveloping crescendo of a thoughtful yoga class is welcome respite.
Pack the skills above, and you will always travel light.
Photo Credit: Lindsay Sworski / movingpresence.com