Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Morning


Well, it has taken me a few days to get back to blog land. My re-entry has been busier than I anticipated. Well, frankly I think that I am as busy as usual but I find it less tolerable after being gone this time. So that is actually good information to get as I consider my spring schedule and so forth. I will be thinning out some of my commitments and clearing out some time to have a life that does not have me teaching 6-7 days a week, which sometimes means 20 days straight of work for me. I am officially uninterested in that schedule anymore! (Whew.)

All right- well, we had an interesting night last night at the Immersion. I think almost every group hits this point right about now in an immersion. We are well into the third part. Most people by now have improved their practice, have deepened their understanding both physically and intellectually and have found at least some of the philosophy teachings to be somewhat meaningful and useful. For the teachers and aspiring teachers in the room, their mind is usually turning right about now toward teaching and many are confused about how to teach the method. Many decide that while they have benefited from the method themselves, they probably won't or think someone shouldn't teach it to new students, older people, young people, flow students, (fill in the blank here because this usually runs the gamut). Or perhaps their minds are just racing with "HOW IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU TEACH THIS?!!"

What is so funny is that this happens right about now with every group I have led through an immersion and so I am learning to worry less that right at the end- after careful explanation and exploration for close to 100 hours, confusion begins to rear its head and anxiety sets in. It is somewhat predictable, in fact. So part of what is going on is that I am no longer spoon feeding the information but asking the students in the group to put the pieces of their new knowledge together and make associations between the different principles. For instance, at this stage I am not just discussing the answers to questions like "What are the three aspects of Inner Spiral?" and "What is thigh loop?" I am asking the students to synthesize "How are Inner Spiral and Thigh loop similar and how are they different?" It requires a more sophisticated grasp of the knowledge.

Also- unlike so many methods of yoga that teach you their method by teaching you how to teach it, Anusara Yoga Immersions have no overt emphasis on teaching anyone how to teach all this stuff. It is there to be seen if you know how to look. For instance, how would I teach Inner Spiral? Well, exactly how I taught it in the Immersion. No hidden cameras, no secret knowledge whatsoever. I aim to be 100% transparent in the classroom in terms of what I am doing and why. But, the average student (Or even above average student!) can not pay attention to learning the method and to how it is being taught at the same time. And so very rarely does an Immersion participant see the Teacher Training that is implicit within the Immersion process.

And we do not, in general, explicate that information until Teacher Training. So often Immersion students by the ends are reeling with the afore mentioned anxiety of "HOW WILL I EVER TEACH THIS STUFF?" and fail to realize that I have not taught them anything explicitly about teaching methods yet. Not one bit. It is not in the scope or sequence of the first 108- hours of study.

So- we had a lot of these dynamics present last night which was kind of interesting and useful for me to see what the group needed and to consider how best to respond.

The other thing that was abundantly clear to me is that this method just takes time to learn. I have said it before that I could teach the method to someone in a weekend but it is going to take most people about 5 years to learn it and to learn to teach it well. Anusara Yoga is profoundly sophisticated within its apparent simplicity. We do not offer set sequences, formulas, specifics rights and wrongs. The method is full of paradox and without many absolutes. So many things can work well and can be "right" and since we are driven by principles not rules, the student and the aspiring teacher has to really grasp the underlying structure, premise, outlook and so forth because the content of "what you actually do in an Anusara Yoga class" rests almost entirely on context rather than content.

All right, I want to practice some asana before teaching so I am going to sign off. Its a big day, I want to change my plan for class today a bit based on what we encountered last night.

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