HOW I LIKE TO TEACH....
Over the years I have been refining and reshaping my teaching practice.
I have asked myself so many questions about it.
What do I want to share, what is it that speaks to me most and the big one- why does Yoga actually work???
It took me some time to get to a place in which I felt I had come to my very own clear understanding of this and how it best fits with the way I deliver my teaching.
Upon Michelangelo's creation of his masterpiece 'David' the sculptor was asked how he created such wander from a block of marble. In response, he allegedly said 'beauty is the purgation of superfluity'.
In other words, the beauty was already there, all he had to do was chip away to reveal it.
In Yoga philosophy we have the concept of Atman which is the true Self.
A field of pure awareness which can never be damaged or broken and is always at peace.
This resides within each and every one of us and we can remind ourselves home to that no matter how many other layers of responsibility and distraction have layered on top.
Some time ago I went to a class and the teacher said, 'when you all walk through that door I see that you are all already perfect as you are'.
This struck me as THE lesson to teachers.
Our work is to see the beauty already there. The tools we have to offer are not a chisel, like Michelangelo, but the practice of Yoga.
Instead of chipping away i have found that the model I like to work with is The Maya Koshas.
Kosha: Sheath or Layer
This model is Yoga Philosophy's attempt at seeing the whole of a person.
At the centre rests Atman, but then over this we have 5 additional layers which wrap around this central concept.
We identify with these layers and live our daily lives through them but they are not the true Self.
From outermost to innermost:
Annamaya - ‘Food’ body / The Physical Body
Pranamaya - Subtle Body / Energetic
Manomaya - Mind/ Feelings / Emotions
Vijnanamaya - Intellect / Wisdom / Beliefs
Anandamaya - Bliss Body / Unconditional Joy
It resonates with me because it acknowledges that we are multi-faceted, complex beings.
Every class plan I make is with an awareness of these 5 layers and how we can address them. Whether it's Asana for the physical body or Pranayama for the energetic. They are all of equal importance because they all contribute to the whole.
In fact, I was recently reminded that the word 'health' comes from the word whole. Suggesting that if we neglect parts of ourselves then it leaves us at risk of this feeling of dis- ease.
Yoga is a set of many tools that help us to look after and care for the layers of our being. As we watch them and understand them we are guided home to out true Self, a place in which everything is fine just as it is.
Michelangelo saw what we as teachers should see in each and every one of our students.
They walk through the door with no need to be fixed or changed but with an opportunity to be fully seen and then to be offered the tools to dive in and be with whatever is there on any given day.
I have a YouTube Playlist based on the Koshas too if you like to practice at home.