preacher teacher

November 2, 2011

 during my yoga teacher training i’ve opened my eyes, jupiter-wide, to the different styles of teachers out there {not just yoga}. i’ve observed at various studios and gyms where i take classes and i have witnessed the vast differences in carriage and care among teachers and studio owners.

i’m often asked what i think makes a good teacher.

the best teachers i know, especially in my industry, are the ones who completely understand that they, themselves did NOT invent the wheel. they don’t hoard their ideas and interpretations, as if they’ve been holed up in some MIT lab choreographing a leg lift or formulating a bicep curl. and the notion of guruship turns their stomach foul. unfortunately, lately i see more of the former-let me awe you with my brilliance!!!, than the latter who prefers to stay out his student’s way to allow the real beauty unfold.

in my opinion, teachers should instruct and disappear. they should never be the “center” of the room. sure we have to be there to cue and coach, but we are NOT the story. the students are the story. there needs to be ample space for the students to shine.

on another note, there’s a stinginess permeating the fitness air: there are contracts and waivers signed forbidding fellow teachers from taking certain classes, etc. for fear of thieving “choreography” and knowledge. i was once asked to leave a class i had helped promote in the community, a format i’d been teaching for nearly 8 years, because the owner was concerned with me “copying” her “moves”.

you can’t steal cognizance. it’s nobody’s to own. there is no patent on squats and curls. and again, isn’t this all supposed to be in the name of health?

this isn’t good for fitness, and it’s terrible for our clients and students. teachers should share every nook and cranny of information they have with fellow peers. it will only make the field stronger, thus strengthening and empowering those we work the hardest to help: our clients and students.

i love sharing my cues, choreography, mistakes/mishaps with teachers all the time. my theory is: happier students at the gyms and studios make for nicer people on the roads, kinder neighbors, and better citizens.

right?

also, there is no one size fits all when it comes to moving and breathing in one’s body. it is not a method which can be stolen. cavemen were tucking their pelvis’ and finding “neutral” way before we were curling up & under in our pre-shrunk, lululemon wunder unders. there are many, many different highways to feeling and looking healthier, teachers shouldn’t exclude or freeze out a student if their cup of masala tea doesn’t wash down delightfully.

 teachers need to remember why they are teaching; hopefully to raise someone else to a higher level mentally, emotionally and physically. if it’s not the case, my local peet’s coffee is hiring.

if a student comes to my class, breathes deep & intentionally, and somewhere finds a smile-i feel like i’ve done my job. that is a healthier place.

sure i’ll give you the tools to have your ass kicked, but it’s always going to be YOUR class.

wednesday happy m’loves.

  • OMG!! I LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!! Couldnt agree more:)

  • Wow, this is such a sad state of affairs and luckily I never caught a whiff of it during my 18 years going to Gurumuck. But I will say when I was thrown into the Improv world to overcome my shyness on camera, my best teacher was brilliant and all he ever talked about was the work, he was so passionate about it and hardly ever mentioned his own performing, in fact he urged everyone to do more than just read up on 'the method' but to live life and have lots of experiences. He didn't berate me because I was shy and couldn't jump in the way all the other actors did who'd been performing their whole lives. My second improv teacher started and ended every critique, every breath by relating it to himself and was truly the worst teacher I'd ever had. He was mean too, and I realized then that teaching is about making people feel good not awful. So I guess there are all kinds, even in yoga and you just have to find your people…like anything 🙂 I can't wait to take one of your classes!
    xo mary jo

  • this is a beautiful post!!!!

  • I really like the first article – it reminds me to be as generous as possible. Thank you for that.

  • miriamstella

    Nice blog!;-)
    I invite you to see my blog, and if you like it, you could follow me! i 'll do the same!
    kisses
    Miriamstella

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