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what is your philosophy on teaching yoga?
To me, teaching yoga is about connecting with people. I don’t think my nature allows me to be distant from my students. For me, yoga is my medium for bringing the feeling that I would like to help people in some way, out into society. This way makes me connect with students from different areas, positions, and situations in life. I find that I can take yoga into any situation and use it as a bridge to another person, or student. I have trained all my teachers the same way.
I like students to work to their maximum potential in each class. That does not mean they must perfect their poses beyond what is reasonable for then, but that their mental attitude is charged with unswerving focus during the class and also that they maintain a calm, steady, and patient approach to all activities.
I keep the students relaxed in class by being myself, but I do not tolerate a lack of concentration – it is a waste of both mine and the students time if either of us are not fully focussed on making small or large improvements in the time we are together. I have been known to kick people out of my classes, I have no problem at all disciplining a class! I want a certain structure in my classes and I make sure it is there - as much for other students as myself.
I do not like competition between students, and I do not like students showing off in class. This is contrary to what yoga is about in my classes. I like students to circle themselves off from each other mentally in terms of comparisons, and concentrate on what they are doing. I like them to judge themselves from the level they are at, and from the attention and advice I give them. Other attitudes lead to either disconcertion or pride.
Having said all of this, my classes are very relaxed, there are no big egos allowed in the class, and if they come they soon leave as they don't enjoy the humble nature of the groups I keep. The students I have always stick because they resonate with me - as with all yoga teacher/student relationships, it's about "vibing" with the teacher well. If you don't like the teacher, you will learn nothing!
I think there are too many teachers out there who do not touch the spiritual aspects of yoga properly. By this I mean
meditation and the ability to properly take a student to their soul; not through the body, but through the switching off of the mind and senses. For me, if a teacher is not meditating properly, they cannot take a student to the student's soul well. If they are not meditating it is ok if they have a natural level where they are definately in tune with the land of God and their soul - and can draw students back through instructions from that level - but ask me about what yoga teaching about and it is this - Union with the soul. If this is not achieved or broached, it is not yoga as I see it personally, yoga is primarily a subject aimed at soul realisation.