Another day of teacher training complete.
We worked with the theme in this morning's practice about True North and how if we have True North within us- the light of our heart coupled with discernment and discrimination- we have access to an inner guide as life takes us through twists and turns.
Heart Theme- steadiness and steady remembrance of guiding light
Postural emphasis- vinyasa prep for twisting action of janu sirsasana, parivritta janu sirsasana and wait for it)... compass pose!
It was a great day because the sequence and the theme worked so well together and for the students and the concept was so meaningful for so many. After we debriefed the class we had a chance to work with weaving heart-based language into verbal instructions. After lunch we had an excellent discussion on ethics- which are ideally referenced in True North, not a bunch of outside rules- and about the distinctions between ethics and personality differences. Its just so clear to me the longer I do this the more complex and intricate the web of interpersonal relationships becomes and the more likely it is for conflict and discord to arise. Also, wonderful and rewarding intimacies arise as well, that is for sure.
I had a really interesting experience at a personal growth seminar a few years ago. We were working with the concepts of projection and transference and how so often our reactions and impression of people are not dictated by present-moment information but are colored and influenced by past experiences. We were given an exercise to do where we, the participants, were to identify a "negative transference" we had with one of the teachers of the seminar. We were given a step-by-step process to help trace the reaction back to earlier life influences to see the source of the negative reaction. Then we went up to the teacher and shared what we had wrote.
What was so amazing to me was watching how 40 grown adults, all of who were competent people and well-educated each had had a negative reaction to one of the teachers at some point in the seminar. Each of us had felt hurt in some way. Each of us had felt "less than" in some way. Each one had felt disregarded or misunderstood in some way. And since I teach people for a living it was particularly stunning to see that no matter how hard I try to "do a good job" or "do it right" this process of transference is at play. (Every. Single. Person. In. The. Room. Had. A. Negative. Reaction. It was not random! or haphazard. very compelling evidence, really.) Also, there are plenty of positive transferences headed our way as teachers as well. As students it can be easy to project positive traits on the teacher that are not exactly accurate.
At any rate, there we all are, in a room, doing the yoga, opening up our energy channels, contemplating Big Ideas and, all the while, the transferences can be happening underneath the surface of awareness. This is super important to keep in mind because a lot of times feelings get hurt as a result of these kind of psychic misunderstandings and the misunderstanding can be detrimental to both the student and the teacher in a myriad of ways. Add to the situation that the expectations for teachers that are lined out in the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual are super high. Even the simple sounding intention that an Anusara Yoga class help each student feel better about themselves is, in my opinion, a bit unrealistic.
I mean sure, of course we want that for everyone who comes into our class. Of course we do. However, what achieves that aim and interferes with that outcome can vary widely from person to person. One student feels great because the teacher paid so much attention to them and gave them a ton of hands-on adjustments through class and the person next to them felt criticized and picked as a result of the adjustments they were offered. Some people feel respected when you give it to them straight while others need a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down, so to speak. And the variations are endless.
My point- or one of them- was that all of that stuff is more psychological whereas ethics are more about right, wrong, and dare I say it? (Yes, why not?) Ethics are about morals.(Funny what a bad word that has become in modern society. But I digress.) I did, in fact, I look up the word and that is what the dictionary said- "having to do with right, wrong and codes of conduct." The word moral also has some etymological relationship to the word mood which is interesting as our ethical conduct- or lack thereof- does relate directly to the mood of our teaching, the mood of our class and the mood of the way we conduct ourselves.
More was said, and more could be said to recap the day but that's a glimpse at the tenor of the discussion. It was a rich topic with many fascinating facets.
We spent the remaining portion of the afternoon on observation and adjustments.
Wow, what a full day.