I woke up today in a very happy mood. I slept well and the feeling of love and grace from our week of teacher training was very much with me. I had a lovely, delightfully deep and quiet meditation today and I enjoyed a leisurely cup of tea before I went into town for a facial and to get my nails done. Later today I will do a practice and then get a massage. In the mean time, a little catch-up on the computer.
It was a really wonderful week for me. Our group shared a wonderful quality of sincere intimacy and respect and it was so rewarding for me to watch people struggle with many of the "teaching formulas" I give at the first of the week only to find the the structure and boundaries liberating by the end of the week. It can be daunting at first to enter into some imposed structure to present a theme and I am certainly aware of the inherent challenges of standardizing something as creative as theme preparation. be that as it may, structure can be immensely useful in taking the giant ideas that inform the method and organizing them into a pithy, clear articulation that prepares students for class.
That and so many other things- Level 1 Teacher Training in my world is really about breaking basic teaching skills down to the component parts much in the way we break postures down into the component parts and sequence them to teach to other people. So much of good teaching can appear "intuitive" or "genius" or "instinctive" and while much of it is, many times what we are seeing that appears creative is actually just integrated, refined and practiced skills. So in level One I am not interested in "real life teaching situations" as I am interesting in the component parts of good teaching like- economy of words, instructing with the breath, observing foundation, quality of touch, verbal adjustments based directly on what is happening in the moment and so forth. We focus a lot more on principles of teaching the same way we fopcus on principles of alignment.
Sometimes, this is frustrating to students who want direct yes and no answers. I am very reluctant to give yes and no answers as I think those kinds of answers perpetuate dogma and dumb down the teaching 9and therefore our student's understanding) of yoga. I am more interested in the why we do what what we do and the grey area of "it depends" than on yes, no, always and never. I want us as teachers to elevate the conversation beyond "in Ansuara yoga we do this and we never do that" to something much more refined and conscientious than a list of rules and such.
I have always loved that about John's approach- he really wants us, as teachers, to think and to be educated in solid principles that can guide us in our thinking and process of self-inquiry and self-discovery. If we understand the context of something, the principles behind it, it is easier to know what the content is or what the "right" thing is to do in any situation. But if we only know right and wrong with no context we will always struggle when life comes to us in shades of grey.
Its like sadhana, really... context is most of it and discernment is the rest of it. But that is an entry for another day.