Most students don't realize I am a traditional teacher. What does this mean? Traditionally, yoga is was taught to individuals rather then group settings customizing the class to the students ability and capabilities due to any health (mental or physicals) related issues.
Asana's / poses or postures are taught to 'help' the students with their health. I still try to maintain this when I teach. How? I get to know you and your health. (plus you write your health concerns on your waiver & release - yes I do read it!) As a group I know who can do what, recommend supplies when or if needed and touch base on everyone's health related concerns. In harder classes the asana's are a little more difficult / challenging.
What is difficult to one is not to another, what is gentle to one is not to another. Everyone's skill level is different not to mention health.
I have always taught this way. Students learn: 'Stay here or' as a phrase commonly used as I teach. We learn our limitations this way. Maybe try something a bit harder and move into the pose if the person's body allows or we have our version of that pose.
A while back a potential student came by and wanted to learn 'new moves'. He already had a practice but wanted to learn inversions. At Inhale Yoga we do inversions every class. But what he wanted specifically was handstands, shoulder stands and headstands. You can see by just talking to this person ego was there. Just because you can do a handstand, a back bend or anything harder doesn't mean you are completely doing your yoga practice. You can have hyper mobility which can allow you to do 'these' poses but to sit still for meditation is difficult. Practicing without ego is a practice all within it's self. Yoga is a moving meditation, we burn off ego and things that no longer serve us thru our practice. The seated meditation came first and the asana's second. Some have made it all about the poses rather then incorporating both. Sure, practice as you choose.
We make choices everyday, choose wisely and always ego free.
Sometimes an experienced yogi wants to 'show me' they can not only do the pose but take it to it's next level when I a teaching something else. (Rogue Yogi - see my past blog on that) It's the experienced practitioners that know and have mastered self control, follow the taught class and get the most from each pose selected by the teacher.
It shows respect to the teacher.
Food for thought: If a world-renowned yogi was in front of you, I would probably guarantee you would follow their instructions. Why not follow the teacher in front of you? Ego.
We can feel we 'need' to show them what we know.
When I practice elsewhere I never tell the teacher I am a teacher. I take the class and enjoy it since it's what I wanted to do in the first place.
Ego is a weird thing, it can make some teachers go off of the deep end trying to impress to an experienced 'visiting' student their knowledge and skill and......vice versa. Listen, we've all been there. Sure when I first started out I did it to. I wanted the recognition of being 'able' to get into poses but found out that practicing or teaching with ego can hurt not only yourself but others. Be your Self.
Teach and practice with love. Learn, be open minded and maybe....just maybe a little light will shine inwards as your heart grows open with love for your practice.
Allow the light to get in.
Shine on my friends!