Day 9 began with a wonderful conversation I had with Clinton, over oatmeal on his balcony. I had initially went knocking on Chandra’s door to look for hot water (ah life in a simple bamboo hut) not realising that she had went down to the beach to join the early morning group for some meditation and swim in the sea. I ran into Clinton and we ended up on his balcony talking about what we think of the course so far. Somehow our conversation steered towards teachings, and mastering new poses.
Before I arrived in Koh Samui, a friend of mine had heard about my practice and had wanted me to teach him and his partner yoga asanas. His request was to learn hand stand. And amongst other poses which I have been struggling with since time immemorial, is of course inversion poses. Hand stands, head stands, anything that requires me to see the world upside down.
But through my conversation this morning, I realised that yoga is more than just mastering poses. “If it’s only hand stand he wants to learn, tell him to go to a gymnastic class instead” were the wise words of my fellow YIT. And I can’t agree more. I had been a little down from previous evening practice, losing a little bit of motivation as I watch the rest of my fellow YITs fly up to a hand stand, or just casually relaxing on a head stand and had questioned my ability of becoming a good yoga teacher. And it occurred to me that one of my favorite teachers never needed to teach us any of those difficult inversion poses (largely because the age range in the group) but I still loved his classes, and I still appreciate the little anecdotes he reads to us while we are in Savasana at the end of each practice.
Theory class today saw the arrival for our 3rd teacher, Ram who will be teaching us yoga philosophy until our Anatomy module begins. Asanas, according to Ram is just one arm of yoga. And that spoke volumes to me, revealing to me even more than before that to teach yoga is to teach beyond the physical perfection of Asanas. It is, again according to Clinton “seeing beyond the physical” and feeling our way through our own practice and teaching it as we feel is best.