Teaching Your Truth


Saturday afternoon proved interesting. I suppose it began with a FB post I read from a well-known local teacher. He was thrilled that his morning class had them hanging from the ceiling. That’s cool. We all love a full class. But as I scrolled through the comments to read what students were saying one comment caught my eye: “great play list.”

My reaction was visceral. My teeth clenched and my eyebrows furrowed.Damn. When did yoga teachers become dj’s?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling overworked and overextended which means I’m also feeling vulnerable. And so such things – like a great playlist being the reason why a yoga class is full – has me doubting myself.

My unwarranted self-doubt nevertheless has an impact. It pokes at my confidence and makes me question how I teach and even why I teach.

Taking a jab at my confidence doesn’t feel so wonderful. But questioning why and how I teach? That’s a good thing. We should always question our teaching. And we should always teach our truth.

I’m not averse to using music in class. In fact, at Samyama, where the sound system is so gorgeous it’s almost a sin to not use music, I play a mix of Tibetan bells, Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. It’s airy but not new-agey and I keep the volume at about the level of sun-dried laundry – not ear bleeding heady perfume.

Our lives are bombarded by sensory stimuli. During my practice, and while I teach, I want to remove the distractions. I want to connect with my body. I want to feel the asana in me. I want to breathe into it, and I want the rhythm of my breath to connect with the expansion and contraction of my body’s tide. I want to breathe with my muscles, my bones, my fascia. I want to feel the course of cerebral spinal fluid from my crown to my root.

I can’t do that if I’m grooving to Roxy Music.

But I doubted all this yesterday. I spent two hours making a play list. And it was a good play list. Maybe even a great one.  Until I accidentally deleted it while attempting to download it to my iPod.

I took that as a sign that the Universe supports my truth. A friend suggested it was a sign I should learn how to use my iPod.  The point is, my truth may not be your truth.  And it may not always be my truth.

But for now it is.

And so, until further notice, my classes will continue to be silent, slow and focused.

And when we leave the studio to plug back into the world, we won’t be talking about play lists. I hope we won’t be talking much at all because we’ll still be taking in the silence and the wonder of feeling our bodies and our breath connected.