My Thoughts on ‘The Golden Rule of Teaching’ by Meta Chaya Hirschl from her book VITAL YOGA.
I love yoga and I love reading. I love reading about yoga. I love the study of yoga – Jnana yoga – dedication to liberation through knowledge and wisdom.
I started reading Meta’s book and could not put it down. It has become an invaluable resource to my study, practice and teaching of yoga. Her style of writing is so friendly and simple to understand and her suggestions are fantastic for both students and teachers.
The three steps she offers are: Instruct – Observe – Adjust. Simple and effective.
When I decided to study to become a teacher it was after many years of practice as a student, as well as study into complimentary fields such as naturopathy. Of course, as a teacher in training, we learnt how to instruct our students into poses. But first, we were instructed how to do the poses ourselves – to experience them and feel them. We were, as student teachers, instructed, observed and adjusted ourselves by our teachers.
Meta suggests that we “monitor the feeling and energy of students” and this is something that I have found to be vital.
For me, I feel it as connecting with my students – connecting with them as they practice with me. Perhaps this is the most wonderful thing as a teacher, that we get to do this – that we get to connect with others whilst they experience their body and breath, as they evolve into the shapes of the different postures. I love witnessing the joy on the faces of practitioners as they discover a new depth in a pose, as they extend into a full expression of a certain posture or find their own sweet spot where their body opens up and releases and the energy flows. I love it.
I love observing, as Meta puts it, and from there I notice opportunities to invite students to make corrections to their poses and adjust.
I usually find that with words alone subtle shifts are made to the shapes of the poses and then there is the change in breathing that comes. To hear the difference…that free flow of breath and deepening of breath. It is wonderful to hear each student, as fellow teacher Emily says, “encourage others with your breath”.
As I read Meta’s book I am encouraged in my teaching. I read her advice and I feel content in noticing my natural inclination to teach as advised.
The way she connects the attitudes (Yamas) and observances (Niyamas) of yoga to the practice of yoga asana is beautifully simple and effective.
Yoga is more than a pose on a mat – it is a way of being. To me yoga is how I show up in the world – how I be. Yoga gives me great joy. It feels good.
I have had many teachers over the years. Some of my teachers I have had the pleasure of studying with over years face-to-face, others have inspired me as student from their words on pages and more recently words and videos on a screen. From each I learn valuable lessons to deepen my own practice and how to further myself as a teacher. I am a work in progress. I don’t know that I can ever call myself an expert, for I feel that I am always a work in progress. As I learn so shall I pass my learning on, and on. So it goes.
Meta’s book will be, as it says as part of its title, “a sourcebook”, for me as I continue to embrace my life though yoga.