I've seen this little pattern time and time again: student finds teacher; student practices with teacher and comes to respect, adore, worship teacher; student blindly follows teacher; student places teacher high atop a pedestal; student is shocked/disgusted/disillusioned/heartbroken when the teacher falls from the pedestal. What makes me so very sad about this is the fact that in the student's attempts to learn, to find, to understand, he/she forgets his/her innate wisdom.
I never wanted to be a yoga teacher. After a certain number of years practicing regularly, folks I came into contact with noticed positive changes and started the whole you-should-be-a-yoga-teacher campaign. I shrugged off the well-meaning urgings, giving some sort of speech about the dangers of one's passion becoming one's work. That wasn't exactly true. I didn't want to be a yoga teacher because I didn't think I had anything to offer. Hell, I still don't.
I see my role as teacher as more of a guide, a supporter, a sounding board. I'm here to help you feel things, discover things, go inside. I don't want you to blindly follow me or do as I say without question or, heaven forbid, put me on some dang pedestal (the air is thin up there from what I understand). I don't know your path -- only you do. I don't know your body intimately -- only you do. I don't know your heart -- only you do. I want to help you tap into all of those things, but I'm not the boss of you (being trained in anatomy and physiology, asana, yoga philosophy, therapeutic yoga and the like doesn't make me an expert on you or your yoga master).
During a session, I ask more questions than I do lecture. One of my pet peeves during yoga classes of the past was listening to the teacher drone on for 60-90 minutes about everything from sitz bones to sutras. I kept wanting to shout, "Shut the hell up for one moment, will ya?!?!" I didn't want to hear some sort of inspiring story or yogic philosophy. I wanted space to feel, to notice, to listen. That usually didn't happen until Savasana. That is what turned me off to becoming a teacher.
Yet here I am...the anti-teacher (not to be confused with the anti-Christ but can be used interchangeably with the anti-guru). I listen more than I talk. I ask questions rather than lecture. I put a hand on the body to bring awareness. These days I'm branching out into the non-yoga space because of the very fact that I see myself as anything but a teacher (I'll let you in on the details of that at some point in the future, so stay tuned). My goal is to empower you, not disempower you by forcing you to listen to me and my "teachings," taking away your ability to listen to yourself and your body.
My initial thoughts about teaching were accurate (for me) -- I'm not a teacher. Teaching isn't for me. Guiding, supporting, offering space, empowering -- that's what I do. I've never been so proud to not be a yoga teacher, especially when I read articles such as this one: Bow Down to the Yoga Teacher . As one of my favorite people says, "Eeeeeek!"
Sharon Salzberg offers up this little nugget of wisdom: "Seeking is endless. It never comes to a state of rest; it never ceases." This may be. The question is, where are you looking -- inside or outside?
Here's another nugget of wisdom from Eckhart Tolle: "In the egoic state, love gets confused with form, and so you think your love is in this form, in this other person. You don't realize that true love is the recognition of the formless in the other - which is the recognition of yourself in the other."