Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Own Perfect Teacher

Pride (Ego's glow) came by this weekend to say, "HELLO!"  Here's how it transpired:  

January is the fourth month of my training to become a yoga teacher.  I am taking this certification so I will be able to assist my wife, Kimberly - one of my greatest teachers and an awesome yoga instructor - in our annual yoga retreats in Bali, Indonesia.  Teaching yoga is similar to teaching my clients about other forms of physical exercise.  The authority aspect is there. Identifying the level of each individual is beneficial and necessary in both.  So one could say that I would have an easy transition and pick it up quickly.  People did say it,  and I even said it to myself.  There was Ego's seed-planting.  It just needed fertilizer from then on.

Weekend training classes are going fine and the material is easily soaking in.  I've even had the chance to casually instruct my fellow students for 10 minutes once.  It was silly and goofy but no-one seemed to care.  I was pretty confident for months, until my first teaching experience to the public started to draw near.  It was last night and the only three people there were a fellow student, my wife, and the instructor.  I knew everyone there - even one intimately - and I was sweating bullets, trying not to curse myself for making a fool of myself.  One would think that was the perfect time and place to be "human."

I was as human as I could be - with smashed pride on the floor wondering why my 'excellent and effective teaching skills' didn't shine through.  I was aware of every moment that Ego got wounded, and came home afterwards to ponder and prepare for my next class, which was this morning.  I woke up and walked the dogs, ate breakfast, made a smoothie, and hurried to my yoga flow sheet for the class.  "How can I make my notes better so that I don't get so nervous," I asked myself as I sat with the laptop glaring at me (my mind gets so left-brained sometimes).  

As I typed each pose and transition, my nervousness seemed to ease somewhat because my notes seemed "easier to read" this time and I would be smoother today.  I showed my routine to Kimberly and she practically told me that I didn't need notes.  They would only interrupt my flow.  She said that the material was already in me.  I laughed at first, then panic set in, realizing I had only 15 minutes before I had to leave for class.  I had 2 choices then:  to keep freaking out or to "let go" of my pre-conceived ideas and let my inner teacher come out to teach.  I chose to let go, and something amazing happened.  I knew what to do.  I barely looked at my notes during the class and, if I gauged the contrast between yesterday's performance and today's, I would say I went from a 3 to a 7 out of 10.  

The reason?  Very simple.  I let go of part of my Ego, which said that I was going to be the next yoga prodigy, and allowed myself to be a normal student that is still learning the ropes (or asanas, to be clever).  I came home, grateful to my wife and my yoga training instructor for helping me realize that my success is not guaranteed by my past experience.  Success, in any case, is guaranteed when I am putting Ego down and placing my trust in my own perfect teacher.

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