Practice Teaching

Yoga teachers are now teaching in a wholly different way than we’ve been taught — heck, everyone is having to teach in a different way than we’ve been taught!  From teachers in public schools to working parents home schooling to mentors in a workplace — we’re all having to learn different techniques to teach from afar or with with a mask on and hand sanitizer nearby.

Zoom, YouTube or social media platforms are venues where our yoga students meet us. These modalities remind me of the blind dating game that was popular just a few months back.  I’ll sit in my little Zoom pod and wait until people chat me up. Then I am “on” and rarin’ to go!

I’ve gone from being a fly on the wall of my student’s interior practice as I walked, talked and assisted to a…performance(?) of asana, sometimes a…guess(?) about what students are doing on their mats that I worry pulls students out of their interior practice. On the other hand, sometimes I feel as though these changes have brought me freedom — I am freed from the constraints of a particular style of postural yoga or studio philosophy, I am free to honor the way I feel energetically rather than what I think my most advanced student wants from my class.

I wonder if in this brave, new, livestream world have we lost something so vital to our shared endeavor that we really can’t call what we are doing yoga teaching, or yoga or teaching. What shifts, if any, will this new way of teaching bring to our practice as teachers? How can we ensure that we are living up to the strict standards we have set for ourselves as individual teachers, to our own teaching philosophy? What has happened to our collective standards about good teaching — as diffuse and loose as they were? Who is advocating for teachers and our safety and well-being?

And as we rebuild, we’ve got to include rather than exclude. The technology we employ represents an opportunity and and a challenge to broadening our community. A majority of our respondents in our latest survey wanted Yoga=Union to help them serve underserved communities. How best to do this given our reality right now?

And what about studios? Some have closed. Many more that are struggling. Those that have opened their studios have done so with trepidation and at great loss. What will happen to our local yoga community, what will happen to us as teachers if yoga studios are no longer the locus of our community?

The only way our team at Yoga=Union knows how to begin to unpack, discover and problem-solve is through collaboration and discussion. We’ve arranged a sangha on Sunday, November 22 at 3 pm to begin this discussion about what is next for us as a collective, as as individual teachers. Please join us to listen, speak your truth, discover your inner strength, or to lay your burdens down and let someone else support you. That’s all we need to do right now, in this moment of continuing uncertainty.

The link to the free event is here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/washington-dc-metro-region-yoga-teacher-sangha-tickets-128266120419

See you soon!

Meg Artley

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